Roza Gabrielyan's smile has carried her through all  of life's difficulties82-year-old Roza Gabrielyan has visited FAR’s Atinizian Senior Center in Gyumri every day for the past 14 years. The difficulties in her life have not broken her energetic personality and smile. She responds to today’s troubles by reminding us about her childhood in the 1940s – when finding a handful of wheat was a great joy.

“We come here, see people, chat, eat delicious meals. This is how we pass our days. I tell many people to hang in there. We get meals here every day – different kinds of meals. When I was a child, there wasn’t even one grain of wheat, but we survived and got to this day,” says Mrs. Roza.

She was 10 years old when was taken to an orphanage in Vayk following her parents’ untimely passing.

“We were in such difficult conditions that orphanage seemed to be heaven to us since we could eat normal food three times a day,” the elderly lady says with a grateful smile that brought her through a difficult life from the Vayk orphanage to work in a textile factory in Gyumri.

Roza spent her entire life in that factory – working there for 43 years. Only the devastating Gyumri earthquake of 1988 stopped her and her hard-working colleagues. The population of Gyumri, the second largest city of Armenia, still struggles with poverty as it tries to overcome the damages of one of the most awful disasters in Armenian history.

150 elderly people in vulnerable situations are fighting poverty alongside FAR’s support as they visit the Gyumri Senior Center. They not only receive meals, but also communicate and share every small joy with each other.

“Since my only daughter got married, I’ve been living alone. So, I come here to find friends. And I won’t lie to my God – I am doing well with my $100 pension. There are so many people who are simply not able to pay for, even, bread. Many can’t find employment…  FAR really is a huge help to us. Thank you so much,” Mrs. Roza says.

Every day more than 800 socially vulnerable individuals receive nutritious meals at FAR’s soup kitchens in Gyumri, Berd, Nor Hajn, Byureghavan, and Yerevan.