A Felt Village
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Aside from the fact that the women from Aregnadem village, Armenia, have to take care of their households in the absence of their husbands, they also are engaged in the unique 'entrepreneurship' of felt-making; they make wool dolls, which are then exported to Norway.

Aregnadem Village, which has 500 inhabitants is located in the beautiful mountains of Shirak region - 145 kilometres from Yerevan. It is one of the few villages of Armenia where the head is a woman. Like many villages, this one too, has an employment problem. Due to the latter, the majority of men leaves the place for guest work.

Those who remain in the village are engaged in cattle breeding. When the men are away, it's the women who take control of the household. They never rest here.

With the request of the head of the village, and with the support of World Vision, felt production was opened here, where various wool items are made.

Now there are around a dozen workers, and the production volumes are still low for being so profitable.

The village Aregnadem from the mountain.


1

Summertime marks the thick of it for the villagers. Nearly everyone works; the hay from the fields and the homesteads are collected and stored for the cold months of the year.

 

2

        The office of Aghunik Hazryan - the head of the village.



 

Wool slippers, which aside from being warm, are also a healthy footwear.
Karen is the one who mainly shears the sheep. His short and unsuccessful experience working in Russia, made him come back home to his village.
After washing and drying the wool, it needs careful carding: one should beware of the sharp edges of the tool. Soon this inherited tool will be replaced with a machine, which is still being made.


8

The women of the village have a lot in common; nearly everyone’s husband is gone for the whole year and they are alone and have to make the decisions. So a council of 12 women was organized.

 

9

       Every member of the council has her own job.



 

 

 

In the process of making the wool, it is secured with a soap.
It’s a labour-intensive job and demands both physical strength and care. The women here joke by saying, that when force is applied they remember their mothers-in-law, while in the gentle part of the work, their husbands come to mind.
Lusine, aside from working at the municipality, is also one of the felt-makers. Last year, she took classes to develop the craft of the village.

"However soon, after obtaining the necessary equipment and creating the needed conditions, the volumes will increase and new employment opportunities will be available. Moreover, the issue of wool procurement will be solved. This will enable the opportunity to sell the items at a lower price" says the head of village. Until present, the orders of the Council of Norway in Armenia were supplied: knitted dolls for export.

 

13

As the renovation is not over, and there is no special room yet, these women work in a room inside the village municipality building.

 

14

       The experiment with a new type of wool is over and a success.

 

15 

The women also engage in knitting. The dolls that they make at the order of the Council of Norway are then exported to Norway and can provide a certain income for the women.



 

 

Chai Khana
  Jumpstart Georgia
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