YEREVAN. – Hovhannes Ashjian, 47, Syrian Armenian who arrived in Armenia with his family without any means, today speaks with pride about how he regained his feet in Armenia thanks to his craft, jewelry. Now he is able to take care of his family with dignity.
Hovhannes told Armenian News – NEWS.am he thanks God every day for his gift.
“When I had just arrived in Yerevan, I was working as a waiter for several months, since we had come from Aleppo without any means. Then I was able to collect some money and buy the necessary tools for jewelry. I already have my customers and live here on rent. My wife also works and helps me,” he said.
Hovhannes Ashjian was well-off in Aleppo; he lived with his wife and daughter in their own house, had a jewelry shop and workshop, where he spent most of his day. He also taught his skills to 25 pupils. Now Hovhannes remembers with nostalgia his house and workshop in Aleppo, which were destroyed as a result of bombings.
“The war came as a surprise to all of us, since we lived in a peaceful and powerful state for quite a long time,” he said.
After losing their house, Hovhannes moved with his family into his wife’s paternal house. The situation in Aleppo gradually exacerbated and Hovhannes decided to move to Armenia. He still remembers with horror the 30-minute road from their house to the airport, which took them 3 hours to pass, since they were going round troops, blasts and ruins.
“We arrived in Armenia, and after a week the Aleppo airports was closed. My brother is still in Aleppo. But he doesn’t even want to come here; he can’t leave what he has [there],” Hovhannes said.
According to Ashjian, other Syrian Armenians should also try to work and get used to Armenia’s conditions, since this is another country; it has its own laws and is quite different from Syria.
“The best thing here is that this is our homeland, everyone speaks Armenian. The Syrian war caused Syrian Armenians to return to their homeland. Our country is only 22 years old, it’s still a child. And nobody has a right to demand anything without doing anything; we should all work together and develop it. If the situation in Syria normalizes, I won’t return there. I’ll stay here and continue my work,” Hovhannes said.