Young Syrian-Armenian woman entrepreneur is convinced that if you keep looking, you will be successful

Angela Grgian was born in Aleppo. She came to Armenia four years ago with her mother. Her sister, brother and aunt stayed in Syria.

“They work there and have their own homes, and this is why they don’t want to come to Armenia. Salaries are higher in Aleppo than here, “says Angela. Her relatives have informed her that people in Aleppo are no longer afraid of missiles and explosions, but there are too many social issues.

“The prices of everything have increased, but the salaries have remained the same, just like they were before the war. Also, many professionals, such as doctors, left. A lot of Armenians also left. Things have changed. I do not know what the situation will be like for the Armenians in Aleppo”, says Angela.

After coming to Armenia, she did not work for a year. “It was almost the second year that the Round Table (WCC Armenia Round Table Foundation) organized a web design training course that I took. It was very good and effective. We learned about web design and how to write codes”, she says. After completion of the course, Angela began working as a freelance specialist and mainly at home.

True, learning about web design has helped her a lot and she is able to add to her income, but Angela is certain that she must not be limited to one job; she has to move forward and grow. “It has been a year since I have been making handicraft items. Since this is also related to my education in the arts, I have decided to draw different objects – on glass and porcelain”, says Angela.

We met her at the exhibition organized by the RA Ministry of Diaspora for Syrian-Armenians. The young Syrian-Armenian artist/web designer presented her handicraft items – scarves, ceramics and souvenirs. “I have already participated in 12 exhibitions in one year. Sales are good. I also post advertisements on Facebook and get orders, and all this is due to my knowledge of web design”, says Angela.

Besides taking a web design course, Angela has also taken a Russian language course organized by the Round Table. She says the course was very helpful. “People in Armenia use Russian as we would use Arabic in Syria. The Russian language lecturer was also a good lecturer. The lecturer taught the language through games, and it was easy to learn the language. Angela has also used Russian while applying her knowledge and skills gained during a programming course to communicate with clients since some of them have been Russian-speaking clients.

However, there are also problems. According to Angela, no matter how many courses the Syrian-Armenians or others take through the Round Table or other organizations, they still lack confidence when it comes to employment. “Businessmen here always seek professionals to work with them. This is why people can’t find jobs and lack confidence for the future,” says Angela Grgian as she shares her and other Syrian-Armenians’ experiences. Nevertheless, she is not in despair and calls on everyone to seek endlessly and acquire new skills.

Angela says the main hardships are social hardships. “It is hard for me and other Syrian-Armenians to pay the rent because there are many other expenses. There is also a problem with knowledge of legislation. For instance, if someone has to get registered, he has to know the right laws, and there are many laws,” says the young Syrian-Armenian businesswoman. However, she fills the gap by attending seminars and participating in consultations.

She wants to stay in Armenia. She says a low salary will be the only reason for her to leave for abroad. “I don’t earn much. Even my freelance orders do not help me cover my expenses. My only hope now is that this type of web design will be more and more appreciated,” says the interviewee.

To see Angela Grgian’s works, visit her Facebook page. She also has a YouTube channel where she presents her handicraft items.

Alla Sarkisova

Programme Officer

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