I can speak out about my problem now, but I couldn’t have done before; I can think about my future plans, my profession, and the dreams I didn’t have time for before. I’ve learned a lot. I feel no more fear – just the opposite. I’ll go back home to my mom and grandma, and will do my best to help them…

As a teenager, Narine – the name given to protect her identity – has faced burdens that could have staggered many adults. Now, eight months later, she is bold, she is strong, and she is self-confident. The rehabilitation she received at the FAR Children’s Center* has helped Narine to get back on her feet and to integrate into her family again.

For more than 10 years, Narine had been living in a family where violence was the norm. Her stepfather was abusive, using verbal and physical violence to express his anger and frustration. It was at times unbearable. “At first sight, Narine seemed a stable and clever girl, but after a while, problems kept popping up,” recollected Ramona Ktakyan, FAR Children’s Center Deputy Director, adding that the girl was very aloof and isolated, and couldn’t socialize with the children of her age.

About a year ago, Narine’s stepfather was charged with child abuse, and she was moved to the FAR Children’s Center in Yerevan from one of the provinces of Armenia.

The pediatricians, psychologists, and other expert staff at the Children’s Center immediately began working with Narine on the long road to her rehabilitation, helping her develop speech and socializing abilities, as well as gain self-affirmation and self-protection skills.

The experts confessed that the biggest struggle with Narine was the work on building up her self-esteem. Her memories were of a loud angry household, and she was scared of men in general. “My parents would always demean me. My father was a control freak; he would occasionally spank me,” she remarked bitterly.

The expert team at the Center was determined to help Narine see her true worth as a person. Through their application of specific therapy and psychological methods, games and discussions, the seeds of hope and progress began to sprout. After a short while, Narine expanded her interacting skills. Day by day, she became stronger and more active. She established a reputation as a calm and kind person with high self-esteem and self-defense. Moreover, Narine performed well on the special game-tests applied to boost her interpersonal and inter family abilities. She had regular therapy sessions with a clergyman who teaches at the Center, and became accustomed to him and even liked him very much. This way, she also shed her fear of men.

The Center staff eventually discovered that Narine had invented some of the accounts of more heinous abuse by her stepfather. It was her way of revenge against the regular physical and emotional violence she received.

In April of 2017, the FAR Children’s Center arranged a way for Narine to go back home and live only with her grandmother, with whom Narine has always had a loving and stable relationship. While her future is by no means free of obstacles, Narine was able to grow the tools of self-esteem and affirmation with the Center’s help, and thus face her future with determination and confidence .

*The FAR Children’s Center is sponsored by the Edward and Helen Mardigian Foundation, the Friends of the FAR Children’s Center (U.S.), and the Children’s Center Circle of Friends (Armenia).