Manushak Nersisyan from Goghovit has been actively engaged in the work of Goghovit community centre since 2008. She has shared a few important events of her live and her involvement in the WFD’s activities.
“I learned needling from my mother, who was the teacher of arts at Goghovit secondary school. As a child, I would spend a lot of time with my grandmothers, who have taught me different handcraft techniques, including knitting. Our village was far from Gyumri and having walking difficulties made it impossible for me to continue my education in the city.
I started studying independently at home and developed my skills in handicrafts. Throughout this time, I was always looking for an opportunity to help my family financially. It seemed almost impossible for a young handicapped woman living in a forgotten village of Goghovit. But that’s only the first impression.
WFD has played a major role in my life: they brought a fresh perspective and created a new environment in our community, many overcame depression and gained hope for a brighter future. I realized that the time has also come for me to step out of “my world” and participate in the development of my community. Along with others, I started volunteering for different events at the community center. Organization of such community events makes everyone’s daily life in the village more interesting and effective.
Seeing my passion and interest in teaching, WFD decided to help me go a bit further. With the support of WFD, I formed a group of more than ten girls/ young women and started to teach them handicrafts.
You cannot imagine how happy and proud we were to have the first exhibition of our works when a delegation of German Bundestag members visited Goghovit. WFD accompanied them and introduced our village. They highly valued and encouraged my work.
Another important period in my life started after my involvement in the Homeland Handicrafts Armenia. Through WFD’s assistance and arrangement Timothy Straight, the consul of Norway in Armenia and the manager of Homeland Handicrafts, visited Goghovit and got familiar with my works.
With greatest responsibility and fear, I knitted the first sweater sample. I cannot explain my emotions and happiness when I was informed that at Homeland Handicrafts they have approved the quality and design of the sweater. This meant that I would have more sweaters to knit for the Homeland Handicrafts. I make sweaters with various Armenian symbols on them, such as different Armenian carpet patterns, Mount Ararat, the Armenian alphabet and many more.
Thanks to the project, now I have a job, I am doing what I am passionate about and at the same time I can help my family financially. I had been waiting for this moment for such a long time.
Aside from this, now I have a group of young women and I teach them the knitting techniques, so that they too will be able to work and make their living.
WFD and the Homeland Handicrafts have brought light and hope into our way. I am so grateful for that. With their support and encouragement, I was able to step out of my world and break many stereotypes among people.
Through my personal example, I show that everyone can release their dreams: all you need is dedication and hard work. You need to work hard, unite people and look ahead.”