There are six members in Serine’s family. She is a mother of four children, twin girls, an elder daughter and a son with a disability. Serine lives in a rented house in one of the communities of Lori Marz, Northern Armenia. Serine doesn’t have a permanent job and is not able to cultivate the garden because there is no water in the village. Serine is a housewife but she is also a wonderful embroiderer and makes decorations from paper.
“There are many people living in difficult conditions like us. We managed to earn for food somehow at least. I always thought that if I had a sewing machine, I would be able to take care of my family a little bit better,” says Serine.
Things have changed when World Vision visited Serine and her family and offered support within the Poverty Reduction Program.
This program envisages a series of multi-sectoral interventions to help the extremely poor families to combat poverty. The support includes: social work with families, financial assistance to meet the most urgent needs, vocational training for family members, training to improve parental skills, ensure on healthy nutrition and proper hygiene for children, assistance with employment and income generation.
World Vision’s social worker, together with the economic development specialists designed a development plan for the family, and the milestone of the plan was to ensure income generation for the family by creating opportunities for Serine to start a small sewing business.
“First they have sent me to a three-month professional sewing course at their own expense. When I mastered in sewing, they gave me a good sewing machine. I used to sew towels, but because of the epidemic and the war people ran out of money and would not buy towels. I also sewed for World Vision staff members; they bought my production to help me.
“Today I don’t have many clients, as people don’t have much to spend on towels. Sometimes I sew for my family, some clothes for my daughters, something for house. I am waiting for better times to be able to sew and sell towels again,” says Serine.
“My daughters associate World Vision with the summer camp they organise every year. They have attended the camp last summer and enjoyed the time, spent there,” says Serine.
Arpi, one of the Serine’s twin daughters, is 12 years old and remembers the camp with joy: “I really liked the camp, I met new friends and learnt lots of new things,” says Arpi.
Serine's eldest daughter Marine, 19, attends World Vision’s SKYE Club, where community youth implements different educational projects as well as learns important life skills that will help them plan their career, find a job demanded in the market and earn their living right in their communities.
World Vision’s social workers continue working with Serine’s family; Serine has participated in the courses on positive parenting and disciplining, but one of the most important learning she has gained during World Vision’s ‘Financial literacy and savings course’. “I have learn to spend money wisely, to think about tomorrow and prioritise our needs. It was difficult at first, but it is so beneficial for us,” says Serine.
“The World Vision helps us a lot with food, hygiene items, especially during pandemic. I can apply for any kind of advice to Wordl Vision’s social workers; they will listen, explain with care and kindness. We are moving forward with patience, and I am confident that our life will improve,” says Serine.
The effectiveness of World Vision’s Poverty Reduction Program is sustainable and evolving. 48% of the participating families have overcome extreme poverty, 90% have increased their annual income, 77% of their children have improved their health and 82% of the families have had a significant change in their quality of life.