Seda Gh., a beneficiary of Hanganak NGO, who was displaced from Shushi, talked about her lost homeland

On July 28, the regular meeting as part of monthly online trainings for the Hanganak staff took place. The main purpose of the training is to improve the knowledge and skills of the medical staff for early diagnosis and treatment of depression and other psychological problems among beneficiaries. In addition, they discuss modern approaches to monitoring chronic diseases that are common in elderly. The courses are conducted by the A.W.W.A. members psychologist-gerontologist Dr. Jane Mahakyan and Public Health specialist Nancy Barsamyan.

During the previous meeting, the problems of beneficiaries displaced from Hadrut and Shushi regions were discussed. They were included in the Elderly Program in the last few months.

This time Hanganak team introduced Seda Gh., who was displaced from Shushi. She joined the Elderly Project in 2016 and is considered one of the most active beneficiaries. She used to take part in all the events organized by Hanganak, she used to be a cheerful and lively woman. Now, facing the bitter reality, she has lost the desire to live, she is depressed and desperate. The team decided to invite Seda for the next discussion and talk to her in person.

Seda participated in the online meeting. She was pleasantly surprised by the attention paid to her. She spoke with pleasure, told about her chronic diseases. She thanked the staff for their care. She told about her living conditions. She currently lives in Stepanakert, in a basement room that is very damp and unfit to live in. She often visits the clinic, where she meets other refugees from Shushi who have lost their homes like her. Then she was silent for a moment and did not talk about her current problems any more, she started talking about Shushi, where she was born, grew up and where the graves of her relatives are… «I miss Shushi very much, she said, I was happy there». She remembered the Ghazanchetsots Church and the Green Church; she remembered Isaac’s wellspring and Jdrduz, their courtyard, where they gathered for a long and sweet conversation with the neighbors during the summer evenings… She was silent and immersed in her memories…

The discussion continued after Seda left. Dr. Mahakyan suggested using antidepressants, but at the same time, she mentioned that occupational therapy could be used for such active beneficiaries, including them in the daily life of Hanganak, inviting them to help packing food for provision, do some technical work, and so on. Moreover, it is also important to resume the weekly spiritual lessons with the priests, which were interrupted because of Covid-19. Dr. Mahakian outlined the importance of having a psychologist, who will provide professional services to the beneficiaries both in groups and individually.

Dr. Mahakyan gave a brief lecture on depression, presented main symptoms and assessment methods and tools. In addition, Nancy Barsamyan spoke about another important issue – the management and care of patients with diabetes.

The necessity of providing disposable syringes that had already been ordered and provided to the 5 insulin-dependent patients by Hanganak team members was also discussed. Mechanisms for further waste management of used syringes were also reviewed.

The meeting ended with a discussion on the housing issue of the displaced beneficiaries. They expressed hope of finding a solution for the homeless beneficiaries, Seda in particular, with the support of the A.W.W.A.