Employement of Karabakh war veterans - how the issue is resolved in Armenia
Work for participants in the Karabakh war
The issue of employment of participants in the second Karabakh war is being addressed by both the state structures of Armenia and various NGOs and international organizations. Many of the participants in the hostilities are suffering from disabilities and psychological problems. In order to find peace of mind, to return to normal life and former interests, according to experts, they need, first of all, to have a job, their own occupation.
- Armenian villagers living near the Azerbaijani border demand a security zone
- “Armenia can repeat the success of Singapore” – Russian entrepreneurs continue to flock to Yerevan
- Refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh share stories about their life in Armenian villages
“Develop business and give work to fellow servicemen “
It has been several months since Surik Bayatyan founded his own carpentry workshop in Yeghegnadzor. It is equipped with all the necessary equipment and tools. The main products are bee hives.
“Beekeeping has great development potential in our region. We have traditionally been engaged in beekeeping for many years. First grandfather, then uncle, now me. We were constantly buying beehives from others, and I always thought we would have our own workshop to make them”, says Surik.
More than 400 participants in the Karabakh war applied to participate in the program and submitted projects to start their own business. 23 applications selected at the first stage of the competition have already received funding.
According to Anush Avetisyan, head of the social service of the “Soldier’s House” rehabilitation center, war veterans actively participate in grant competitions and are motivated to start their own business:
“We have more guys who applied for participation in this program, got good scores, and now they are waiting for the second round of funding. The presented business projects are very diverse: the creation of a greenhouse, a poultry farm, a livestock farm, a sewing workshop, and a photo studio. It is important for us that, regardless of what they prefer to do, such programs change their quality of life so that they have the opportunity to work and have a source of income”.
For Surik and other guys who returned from the war, the issue of employment is important not only in terms of solving social problems, but also overcoming psychological ones.
“After the war, many of the guys have not yet come to their senses, they are now not the same as they were before the war. I notice this among my friends too. They need an activity that interests them in order to fully dedicate themselves to it and get out of this situation”, says Surik.
He was at the forefront along with his younger brother and father, who came to the front as a military volunteer to be close to his sons. Surik says that after being wounded, in the hospital, he himself also thought only about how to return to his brother and father as soon as possible. And now, when all three have returned home, he thinks about developing the business, wants to provide work for his fellow colleagues.
“No matter how many new workers are needed, our workshop will definitely employ those who went through this war”, he says.
In 2020-2022, the rehabilitation center “Soldier’s House” organized educational programs for more than 600 people. 120 of them got jobs as a result of the joint efforts of government agencies and private organizations.
The rehabilitation center has acted as a link between employers and war veterans since its foundation. According to Anush Avetisyan, head of the center’s social service, after the 2020 war, employers themselves are showing an interest in hiring those who were injured during the war:
“Often, employers themselves come to the Soldier’s House and offer the guys work on good terms. And we, for our part, are trying to help find jobs for the guys”.
The Soldier House actively cooperates in this regard not only with private companies, banks, large IT organizations, craft workshops, but also with such government agencies as the State Revenue Committee, the Civil Aviation Committee, and the Customs Service.
Before being hired, all these organizations provide training for the wounded and disabled veterans of the war. Many of those who have already participated in training programs and got a job often come to the Soldier’s House to pass on their knowledge to other guys.
“We are trying to help them return to the labor market”
The “Armenian Human Resources Association” is one of those organizations that conduct training programs and help war veterans find work. Approximately 2,000 people applied to participate in their trainings under the New Page project.
To continue its work, the association counts on the support of charitable organizations and donations from individuals.
According to the head of the fund Arpi Karapetyan, before starting the project, their team studied the needs of young people who want to learn new specialties. Then the foundation organized the relevant training programs that are in greatest demand.
“Thus, we are trying to help young people rethink their professional lives and return to the labor market”, says Arpi Karapetyan.
Approximately 200 trainers and 250 employers from a wide variety of fields volunteered to support the program. As a result, 45 participants in the war have already received jobs.
23-year-old Tigran Margaryan, thanks to the educational program of the foundation, is already working in the field of logistics.
“Such programs inspire the participants in the war with the hope, showing them that they are not forgotten, that they are not alone. I hope that they can take place in their own country, hope for a chance to rebuild my life”, says Tigran.
He emphasizes that this hope is very necessary for the participants in the war. In parallel with the programs implemented by various public organizations, he considers it important to involve large-scale government projects. Thus, in his opinion, the number of people receiving assistance will increase significantly, and the result will be more noticeable.
According to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, as a result of the joint efforts of various organizations, more than 300 war veterans and their families have taken part in educational and training programs.
From the end of the war in 2020 to February 2022, 131 participants in the war, 174 members of their families, as well as 16 family members of the killed soldiers were registered and employed in the employment centers within the framework of state programs and cooperation with international organizations.
According to Hunan Hunanyan, head of the Defender of the Fatherland Foundation, in order to increase the number of beneficiaries of state programs, it is necessary to properly inform people about their existence.
“State programs in the field of employment are quite successful, but in many cases, it turns out that neither the participants in the war nor the employers know anything about these programs. Most employers do not know that they can work with employment centers and, by hiring children with disabilities, use state compensation programs. To solve this problem, our foundation is trying to perform a “warning function”, to be a link between government agencies, employers, and participants in the war”.
According to Hunanyan, when solving the problems of war veterans, it is necessary to take an individual approach, study the situation of each in detail and make decisions based on specific needs:
“First, the needs of the children should be studied and assessed at the state level. It is necessary to organize individual home visits for everyone in order to understand who can do what, and who has what needs. If their needs are correctly assessed, it will be easier for both government agencies and NGOs to work, and the problems of children will be easier to solve”.
In the meantime, the foundation is trying to help, through its connections and charitable programs, those who want to start their own business and need some kind of equipment. In particular, we are talking about the provision of equipment for poultry farms, hairdressers, and care centers.
According to all organizations involved in this process, the efforts of state structures are insufficient.
“Funds, additional efforts, and resources are needed to respond faster and more effectively to the needs and problems of everyone”, says Hunan Hunanyan.
This point of view is shared by the head of the social service of the rehabilitation center “Soldier’s House” Anush Avetisyan:
“The state is making efforts to employ the guys. Perhaps the problem is a lack of resources, or maybe there are some other minor problems, as a result of which the issue is not fully resolved.
The guys approach the situation with understanding, they realize that it is not possible to solve all problems at once. Most of all, they expect one thing from the country, government, and society – simple human empathy.