Adult Education Contributing to the Integration of Refugees from Syria in Armenia

In October 2014 - April 2015 DVV International Armenia initiated and implemented “Adult Education Contributing to the Integration of Refugees from Syria in Armenia” project funded by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). 

The project was designed and implemented in response to the inflow of Syrian Armenians to Armenia following the escalation of the situation in Syria and in an effort to support their integration in Armenian society.  The Syrian Armenian refugees tstarted relocating o Armenia in early 2012 and continued with more intensity in 2013 and 2014. The 2014 annual report of the Ministry of Diaspora estimated the number of Syrian Armenians in Armenia at 12.000. According to the community representatives another 10.000 people entered Armenia but left mainly for Western Europe, the US and Canada. Both the Armenian government and the NGO sector joint forces to support the relocated refugees and their integration in Armenia. Efforts in this direction included facilitated visa regime for ethnic Armenians, accelerated citizenship residence permits for 5-10 years, training opportunities, humanitarian and medical aid, reimbursement of housing rents, psycho-social support and so on.

The Ministry of Diaspora set up an NGO  “Center for Coordination of Syrian Armenians’ Issues” that is the main actor negotiating aid with government agencies and working with international organizations. The Syrian community is also represented by more grassroots non-for-profit organizations such as “Kessab Compatriotic Union” and  “Aleppo Compatriotic Charitable Organization”, which was the partner under this project.  

The main objective of the project initiated by DVV International Armenia was to contribute to the socio-cultural and economic integration of refugees from Syria to Armenia through: 

  • Needs Assessment for identification of training and adaptation/integration needs of Syrian refugees in Armenia
  • Series of NGO capacity building interventions for youth wing of Aleppo NGO and support to its initiatives.
  • Several skill-based courses that included  basic computer skills, Russian and English, felting, as well as advanced hardware programming courses for IT students.  

By the end of the project over 100 Syrian refugees had benefitted from their participation in skill courses that allowed improving their subjective well-being and their gradual integration into the Armenian society. 

Over 1000 copies of brochures with information about the history and heritage of the Armenian community in Syria were published under the project to improve public understanding and acceptance of refugees that have hard time to settle in Yerevan. 

In April 2015 DVV International supported participation of around 10 Syrian Armenian young dancers in a 10-day long International art festival “Let’s Sing and Dance For Peace” organized by “Future Bridges” NGO. An additional 150 Syrian Armenians from different age groups have attended concerts and other cultural activities within the festival.

The most visible event organized under the project was the Asank-Anank, an open air festival  initiated by DVV-International and its partners “Aleppo” Compatriotic Charitable Organization, Armenian Actors Union NGO and “MIHR” social-cultural organization.  The festival was an eight day event (June 19 to 26, 20150 organized as an open creative space in the center of Yerevan . The format meant to instigate interaction, discussion and deeper mutual awareness between Syrian Armenians established in Armenia since the start of Syrian crises and the local community. The main events of the festival were held in the circular space of “Republic square” metro station fountain and the adjacent park. The Festival offered various kinds of events for different audiences that incluced  exhibitions, community service, kermesse, film screenings, lectures, “tea with strangers”, open mic, reciting, concert, activities for children, traditional dishes, etc. All events were free. 

Partners of “Asank-Anank” were Mkhitar Sebastatsi Educational Complex, Birthright Armenia, National Museum-Institute of Architecture, Research on Armenian Architecture Foundation, Karen Demirchyan Yerevan Subway. 

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