The harsh reality of an ordinary village woman in Armenia

It has always been a hard thing to be a woman in a remote Armenian village. Village women have many duties to accomplish, some of which would be totally foreign to women living in cities. Anahit, who works as a nurse in the Yaghdan village kindergarten in Lori Region, talks about what lies on her shoulders; not only the household duties, but also working in the fields, caring for the animals and much more.“Women living in cities can hardly even imagine what lies on our shoulders. It’s not only the household duties, but also work in the fields, care for the animals and much more”, says Anahit Chatinyan, 29-year-old mother of two.

Women living in cities can hardly even imagine what lies on our shoulders “It is even harder when a woman also works, this means she has to do all the rest after her work”, adds Anahit who works as a nurse in the Yaghdan Village kindergarten in, Lori Region which was completely renovated thanks to the World Vision Churches in Partnership project. World Vision’s Stepanavan Area Development Programme (ADP) with funding from World Vision United Kingdom also provided the kindergarten with necessary furniture, educational materials and toys.

Anahit’s typical day begins at 5:30am when she milks their only cow, feeds the hens, cleans the house, collects some vegetables from the yard, prepares breakfast for her husband and children and sees them off to their school and work.

All this she accomplishes before leaving the house. When in kindergarten she enjoys playing with the children and making them smile. “It is so good that now we have a renovated kindergarten. I remember, in the past there were holes in the decayed wooden floorboards and while running I was always afraid the children would harm themselves”, remembers Anahit. Today it is a shiny and clean place where children enjoy their classes.

Another hardship for the villagers remains the lack of gas supply in the village. “All year long we prepare food on a wood-burning stove, but when it is hard to buy wood, we burn animal manure; it is also a good saving for us”, explains Anahit.

Anahit also has to collect water every two days. “Though we have in-house water, which is such a relief for the housewives, water comes only three times a week. So I have to collect it in buckets and big basins”.

All my efforts and deeds are directed to ensure my children live a good and secure life “For any Armenian woman her family and children mean everything. All I care for is the well–being and prosperous future for my children. All my efforts and deeds are directed to ensure my children live a good and secure life”, says Anahit.

But to make that a reality both Anahit and her husband have to do a great deal of work. “Quite recently my husband found a job in a Hydroelectric Station in our region. It is really hard work and he has to take night shifts for two-three times a week”, says Anahit.

Despite the hardships of the work, Anahit is very happy that both she and her husband have a somewhat stable income. “It is a unique thing for the village, that both husband and wife have stable jobs, which is why we feel blessed to have this opportunity”, explains Anahit.

Life seems to be on an even keel for Anahit and her family but it hasn’t always been so. After the birth of her second child she was diagnosed with breast cancer and at the same time doctors found a benign tumour in her ovary.

“It was very hard for me. Doctors would not promise that my health would improve. We had very little hope”, remembers Anahit.

But the surgery and later treatment helped her a lot. “Thankfully I did recover, and now I feel very well”, she says.

But along with the joy of recovery, Anahit and her husband have now cut their expenses to the bare minimum in order to put aside some money and pay back the debts they have incurred for the treatment.