March 11, 2011

“I measure the everyday life of our country through the lives of our children”

Below is the transcript of the interview with Donara Galstyan, recorded in Goris, Armenia on January 23, 2011. You can listen to the interview (in Armenian) here:

I have worked with children for a long time, already about forty years. First I was headmistress at a kindergarten, after that administrator of the former Pioneer school children, later center director. Now I am director of the Hall of Combat Glory. This hall is a big museum dedicated to the freedom fighters [from the Karabakh war] and those who died in the Great Patriotic War. It’s dedicated to their traditions, their customs, their events, and sometimes we have memorial events for our fallen freedom fighters. On the anniversary of the Great Patriotic War on May the 26th, we always have a traditional day dedicated to them.

For four years I worked with parentless children at the Siranush camp organized by the Yeghegnadzor-Syunik diocese. There were children of fallen freedom fighters as well; in the last few years only parentless children. During the war years of the nineties, at the children’s center we took care of parentless children from Martuni, Martakert and Stepanakert for two years. For two consecutive summers the children came to us for a vacation. Those war years of the nineties are always with me, through the children’s eyes. I always see them with my eyes as if through their eyes. Can you imagine the parentless children? Continue reading

February 6, 2011

Let us introduce ourselves

This blog is the homebase of the Armenian and Azerbaijani Women’s Narratives Project, a project sponsored by the Eurasia Partnership Foundation as part of its “Unbiased E-Media Coverage in Armenia and Azerbaijan” program.

Whether in conflict, in peace or in the current state of no-peace, no-war, women’s voices on both sides of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border are rarely heard in mainstream discourse. Women often feel like they don’t have a voice whether it be in their personal and family lives, in their community or in the affairs of their country. Furthermore, it is important for women to hear other women’s stories. This lets them know that they are not alone and that those on the other side of the conflict also have their stories, often quite similar to their own. In our joint Armenia-Azerbaijan project we want to create an opportunity for women from both countries to tell their stories and hear the stories of other women (notably from the other side of border).

Over the past few months, two teams of journalists, writers and bloggers in both Armenia and Azerbaijan have interviewed women of different ages and backgrounds, both in the capitals of Yerevan and Baku and in the regions. We asked them about their lives, their hopes and wishes for themselves, their families and their countries. These interviews are now being transcribed, edited and translated so they will accessible in three languages: Armenian, Azeri and English.

Over the next few weeks these interviews will gradually appear on this blog.