Homeland Development Initiative Foundation
AT A GLANCE
Partner since: 2020
Refugee origin: Syria
Refugee location: Armenia
Homeland Development Initiative Foundation (HDIF) is a registered NGO and social enterprise based in Yerevan, Armenia. HDIF works to initiate, facilitate, and nurture sustainable economic opportunities in rural villages, towns, and cities throughout Armenia. HDIF works to empower women as independent business operators by organising training in business development.
Refugee Artisan Group
A group of 26 Syrian refugees of Armenian decent work with HDIF. The women were born and raised in Syria after previous generations fled violence in Armenia. Most of them lived in communities that maintained their Armenian culture, including craftsmanship traditions. After the war broke out in Syria, over 200,000 of these Syrians of Armenian heritage sought safety in the homeland of their ancestors.
Currently the artisan group, which is 96% women, specialize in two distinct hand made techniques - hand felting of local sheep wool, and traditional Marash embroidery. The felting technique was learned after their arrival in Armenia, but the Marash embroidery is an Armenian technique that is hundreds of years old and, for most of the women, was passed to them by their mothers or grandmothers.