“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved, forgotten by everybody and uncared for is the greatest poverty.” - Mother Teresa
Sassoon (Born in 1983)
Sassoon was born in Nagorno Karabakh and his parents died when he was only three years old. In 1988 he was moved from an orphanage in Baku, Azerbaijjan to one of Yerevan’s orphanages. Sassoon is a fabulous artist and enjoys drawing. Along with his artistic spirit, Sassoon has a tender and affectionate heart. He loves to sing and dance. Sassoon enjoys socializing, going on walks in the village, and sightseeing. Due to many sensitive factors, Sassoon has been in and out of psychiatric clinics prior for much of his adult life. In 2012, we developed an alternative program at Warm Hearth to meet Sassoon's long-term needs. He is currently thriving in this environment and integrating into the larger community through excursions to the city, going to church and attending concerts. He also loves ice cream!
Anahit (Born in 1978)
Anahit was abandoned as a child and lived at a few different orphanages until she moved into our home in late autumn of 2008. She is a passionate person and feels things deeply. As you watch her sing, you can see the deep wells within her. She loves to sing and recite poems. She has a flare for the dramatic and brings energy and life to our home. She is a meticulous and complex person. She is incredibly active both mentally and physically. In moments where she seeks calm and quiet, she turns to music and song. In 2012, she graduated from Yerevan State Humanitarian College as a specialist in carpet weaving.
Arsen (Born in 1976)
Arsen became our resident in 2013 when his only remaining parent died. Arsen has a developmental disability and did not have the life skills to live on his own after his parents' death. Since coming to Warm Hearth he has been encouraged to adopt and practice new skills, make friends and enter into our home life as much as he is able. He is enjoying the companionship of our residents and caregivers though nothing could take the place of a parent's love. He appreciates the new experiences he has had since coming to our home and we are grateful for his kind and gentle presence.
Agappy (Born in 1980)
Agappy was left at an orphanage with her sister due to her mother’s poverty. Since that day she has never been in touch with her mother. Unfortunately, in the shuffle between orphanages, she also lost track of her sister. Even so, she is a remarkably content and capable person. She loves to work in the garden and enjoys physical work. She has made the Warm Hearth garden beautiful and is calmed by working with the earth. In 2012, she graduated from Yerevan State Humanitarian College as a specialist in gardening. She also enjoys cooking and preparing meals for the home.
Roman (Born in 1981)
Roman is first noticed for his endearing smile and a childlike fervor. Born in Yerevan, he spent most of his life at Nubarashen Orphanage until moving to Kapan in 1999. He loves working with pastels. He also loves music and has become the Warm Hearth “Tech Support”, operating the CD player and television. He often acts as the “DJ”, choosing music that everyone will enjoy. In his own words, Roman wants to live a good, long life and be clever and friendly. He has said that after living so long with the other residents of Warm Hearth, that they are now his brothers and sisters. For this reason, he never wants to leave them. In 2012, he graduated from Yerevan State Humanitarian College as a specialist in gardening.
Davit (Born in 1988)
Davit came to us in the beginning of 2009 after losing his mother. He and his mother had lived on the streets for a time and he was in need of a home at the time of her death. Even in the face of this grief, Davit brings a wide smile and an open heart to our home. He loves the outdoors. He is kind and affectionate to all whom he meets. He loves to dance, sing and jump. His enthusiasm is contagious. He has the unique combination of having tremendous energy and incredible softness. He also loves to eat and celebrate, which is a central part of our home life. If he is not able to do something, he will still try to learn with a smile.
Davit (Born in 1978)
Davit spent the first eight years of his life in Kharbert Orphanage and then was transferred to two other orphanages before settling into his home at Warm Hearth. He is originally from Syunik Region, where his family still lives. Despite a difficult past and severe and painful scoliosis, Davit is positive, kind and caring. He has a great sense of humor and it has been said by our director that “anyone will laugh all day if they can only be near Davit”. He is always the first person to the door to welcome visitors. With the instruction of a local carpet maker, Davit has begun making his own traditional carpets, a craft that is respected in Armenia. In 2012, he graduated from Yerevan State Humanitarian College as a specialist in carpet weaving. He is very accomplished at his trade.
Armine (Born in 1980)
Armine moved into our home in late autumn of 2008 from Parakar Orphanage, outside of Yerevan. As an infant, she was abandoned at an orphanage and we have no information about her parents. She is a keen observer and enjoys watching people. She loves gathering together with the others in the evenings to laugh, think and reflect. When someone makes a joke, she is the first to laugh and smile. And oftentimes, she offers one of her own. She loves to work and help in the house, especially in the kitchen. She is eager to take responsibility for her life and brings a spirit of diligence and responsibility to our home. In 2012, she graduated from Yerevan State Humanitarian College as a specialist in carpet weaving. She is very accomplished at her trade.
Alina (Born in 1979)
Alina was born in Kapan and sent to live at an orphanage at a young age. Her father was involved in the Nagorno Karabagh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan and still lives in Karabakh. Her mother died many years ago. Alina is an artist. She loves to sing and has a beautiful voice. She also enjoys doing embroidery work and drawing. She is deeply creative. She is often “caught” ironing clothes or doing laundry, tasks she learned to do at Warm Hearth in spite of cerebral palsy and weakness on one side of her body. Her sister has re-established contact with her since Warm Hearth opened and visits her regularly. In 2012, she graduated from Yerevan State Humanitarian College as a specialist in carpet weaving.
Gayane (Born in 1980)
Gayane has a mother’s heart. This is evident in our community as she is very nurturing. She helps other residents with their laundry and cares for her friends when they are sick, bringing them tea and sweet candies. She is passionate about caring for people, embroidery and gardening. Gayane makes beautiful handcrafts and has started selling them. Before Warm Hearth opened, she spent her life in three different orphanages. She has no known family members and was orphaned at a young age. In 2012, she graduated from Yerevan State Humanitarian College as a specialist in carpet weaving. She is very accomplished at her trade.
Susanna (Born in 1983)
Susanna sings beautifully. She was abandoned to an orphanage at the age of six and spent a few years in and out of psychiatric institutions. She is a deeply sensitive person. Previously, quiet and reserved with strangers, Susanna has blossomed since Warm Hearth opened. She used to spend most of her time alone, often feeling misunderstood and alienated. We have been blessed to see such tremendous progress as she has been given kindness and love within our home. She reads avidly, participates in the daily vocational development activities and even has begun conducting classes for the other residents. In 2012, she graduated from Yerevan State Humanitarian College as a specialist in carpet weaving.
Yulia (Born in 1978)
Yulia rarely spoke before coming to Warm Hearth. She was abandoned at the age of six and since has been shifted around from orphanage to orphanage. She was severely neglected until the age of fifteen. As a result, she was profoundly underweight and did not speak at all for many years. She is no longer timid around strangers and has made impressive progress in the last few years and has even begun to participate on the social walks through the village safely and without a chaperone, which we advocate as it increases her independence. She speaks often now, sings, laughs, dances and draws. Yulia is very kind and tender. She lights up when she hears music and often dances to Armenian folk music. Her first language is Russian, so we often call her by the Russian nickname of Yulushky.
Hasmik (Born in 1980)
As an infant, Hasmik was left at an orphanage. She moved into our home in late autumn of 2008 from Parakar Orphanage, outside of Yerevan. She is a tender-hearted person, sensitive and shy. She is also deeply kind, smiles often and has a heart that is open. She often tucks her chin in and looks up out of the corner of her eyes to wait for an embrace. She is a somewhat solitary soul at this time. We hope that she will develop deep friendships as time goes on. She loves babies and spends hours playing creatively with them. There is no one gentler with a child. Hasmik also loves to work with paper mache and to participate in the home life and work. We are blessed to have her as one of ours. In 2012, she graduated from Yerevan State Humanitarian College as a specialist in carpet weaving.
Anna (Born in 1984)
Anna lost both parents at a young age. She lived in Gavar Orphanage until she was 18 and then moved to Kapan. She was been in and out of psychiatric institutions for most of her life. Anna is a very energetic, passionate and spiritual person. She has a very kind heart and is willing to help any one in need. Despite all she has been through, she still exhibits joy and openness towards people. She is affectionate and playful. She enjoys spending time in nature, cooking and cleaning. Due to many sensitive factors, Anna has often lived in a psychiatric institution. In 2012, we developed an alternative program at our home to meet her needs. She is currently doing well in our home again and we are grateful. She is enjoying learning how to weave small carpets along with the other residents in our vocational classes.
Photo credit for all but Arsen's photo belongs to Chris Kitahara. All rights reserved.