“Armenia was a great experience for me, full of encounters and surprises, and during those 20 days in the heart of the Tzargadzor Children’s Center, my mission was to teach two hundred children about sewing. was pleasantly surprised by the quantity of materials (colored threads, bracelet threads, buttons, ribbons …) coming from France and donations, which allowed us to carry out various works that the children could take with them. was accompanied by Tatev, a 16-year-old Armenian girl who had come to help her mother for administrative management. We were able to produce handbags, animal beaded key rings, embroidered figurines, salt paste, bracelets in all styles to the delight of the children It was not always easy to juggle between seven-year-olds and fifteen-year-olds, learning time and discipline being quite different !
The days were similar; starting with a prayer, followed by gymnastics in the courtyard, breakfast, then five sessions of forty-five minutes of classes. The open-air games took place in the afternoon; the children had access to plastic balls and snowshoes and we organized group games. In the evening, for an hour after dinner, the children were gathered in the theater where they sang, played games or when it was a festive evening, a cartoon was shown.
What struck me most was the permanent smile of the children. These two weeks of vacation represent a real respite in their difficult life which they never address the subject. Some of the children were orphans and lived in the orphanage of Sister Arousiag in Gyumri. Others had been entrusted to the Sisters for an indefinite period. Finally, most were from large families and had little opportunity to have fun during the school year. Relations with the adults were difficult the first two days but very quickly the children became accustomed to smiles and other affection. In the camp, they are treated like kings, pampered and properly fed. However, the discipline is applied and respected by all children, which makes it possible to better manage the groups, and to teach them some rules that are often new to them.
The farewells were heartbreaking, we know that they will wait for next year with excitement and impatience. Their laughter and smiles are anchored in my heart and my head; I think they have brought a different vision of youth and know-how. In return, they gave me a lot of love and I developed a growing interest in Armenian culture, its traditions that remain very strong, its cuisine full of flavors. I was struck by the extent of the landscapes, the rocky plains empty of human settlement and the astonishing mountains overlooked by churches. “