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Mаry Mamyan

Thinking Big: Adelina Has Never Attended School but Dreams of Becoming a Police Officer

17 year-old Adelina Khachikyan has never attended school but the teenager dreams big – she’s always wanted to become a police officer.

Adelina, who grew up in the Armenian border village of Koti (Tavoush), was taught to read and write by her elder sister.

Anahit, the teen’s mother, told Hetq that the family was going through a rough period when Adelina became of school age – money was tight and her husband was seriously ill.

It seems that Adelina’s parents never got around to sending the girl to school and figured it was too late to do so when she got older.

“Hey, I don’t know, Adelina had grown up and stayed home,” Anahit says with some hesitation.

“But I always would read and write at home,” Adelina interjects. “My pen and notebook were always with me.”

In the spring of last year, an acquaintance of the family told the staff of the Noyemberyan office of the “Bridge of Hope” NGO that there was a child in the village who had never received a basic education.

The staff then met with Adelina’s mother and suggested that the teen visit their office twice a week for some classes. The girl attended the classes and started with learning the ABC’s and numbers. Adelina is now reading works of fiction.

Gayaneh Kharatyan, who works with Adelina at the Bridge of Hope, told me that the girl has gotten over her initial fears of reading and reciting lessons in the presence of others.

“She’s a very smart and able girl. She just needed some guidance. She’s progressed to the point that she no longer needs my help,” says Kharatyan.

Adelina, who now lives with her mother and two brothers in Koti (her father died in 2006), told me about her 24 year-old brother Voskan, who only has three years of schooling under his belt. He left to take care of the family’s financial needs.

Now, he wants to at least get his high school diploma. He’s been told that to do so he needs to pass exams at a senior high school in Yerevan. But at least the village school has his class records for those three years. Adelina doesn’t even have that. She’s never attended a day of class.

So now, the girl is at a loss as to what her next step should be. But she hasn’t given up hope.

“If I’ve been able to learn all this in just one and a half years starting from practically zero (she points to her notebooks on the table), I can learn whatever I need to pass the exam,” Adelina confidently says.

Her options are clear – either pass the graduation exam or pay money to learn some trade.

“I wanted to become a beautician, but classes cost 50,000 AMD for three months. Not having the money, I couldn’t do it,” Adelina says.

“But your family tells me you wanted to become a police officer,” I tell her.

“Yes, it was my childhood dream. But it’s only a dream. I can’t now,” she answers.

Adelina and her 16 year-old brother Khachik tell me they used to play cops and robbers as kids and that they bused to dream of becoming police officers when they grew up.

Khachik tells me that’s all behind him now. After finishing the ninth grade in two years he’ll be called up for military service.

“The way things are now, after I get out of the army I’ll take any job anywhere,” Khachik says.

And I can understand what he means. The once habitable house has become a shell of its former self. Even entering the house is a risky affair. The roof leaks and many of the windows have no glass and are covered with plastic sheeting. The family only occupies three rooms of the large house; the rest are all dilapidated.

The family’s fortunes took a turn for the worst in the 1990s when Anahit’s husband Varoujan became ill. She had to take care of him and, as a result, the children’s schooling suffered. After Varoujan died it was up to Voskan to take care of matters. He’s worked at odd jobs in the village and even tried his hand at farming, but with little luck.

“Voskan has had a hard time of it running around to maintain the family. He doesn’t own a cell phone but he bought one for his sister,” Anahit says. “And that child [Adelina] is also to be pitied. She does most of the work around the house. I’m in no shape to do much anymore. My bones ache something terrible.”

The Khachikyans’ only income is the family allowance and the pensions Khachik and Adelina receive as parentless adolescents. It troubles Anahit to think that Adelina’s pension will be cut when she turns eighteen in February.

“Every parent wants to see their kids get ahead and to achieve their goals. But you need a bit of money stashed away. If you don’t, no matter how hard you wish, it’s tough,” Anahit says.

Comments (3)

A. G.
եկեք օգնենք այս ընտանիքին ով ինչով կարող է, գուցե որեւէ մեկը կազմակերպի դա, կամ հասցե նշվի ու միանանք օգնենք՝ գումար, հագուստ, ուսուցում եւ այլն
I wondering why Armenian oligarch's not able to help such poor Armenians instead building new churches and other ambitious project's...
She looks a bbriht young ladyhelp her get her wish

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