“Grandma” Olenik Sahakyan, 82, is a bright and exceptionally kind woman. Lively and diligent, she is always ready to help every beneficiary at FAR’s Vanadzor Old Age Home (VOAH), where she, too, is a resident.

Olenik’s life has always been hard. She was born in the village of Privolnoye, and her mother died when she was only two. After her father remarried, Olenik helped to raise her four half sisters and brothers. Starting from the eighth grade, she worked on her village’s collective farm. In 1960, she moved to Kirovakan (now Vanadzor) where she worked for 10 years as a crane mechanic at the local factory.

After a decade of marriage, she left her first husband when she found out that she was unable to have children. “It was my own decision because I wanted him to have children and be happy. My husband and mother-in-law were crying when I left,” recollected Olenik with sadness.

Olenik’s second marriage to a man with two sons was not happy one. She moved to Tbilisi and after two months, her husband left her and his children to go to Russia. He never returned. Olenik didn’t leave the children however; they moved back to Armenia together. She raised them as of her own but eventually lost them as well. Her older son, Alik, died 16 years ago in Russia at the age of 35 from an illness unknown to Olenik. Her younger son, Aslan, also died when he was 38.

After living alone for seven years, she decided to move to VOAH in February where she has since found a new, loving community that she calls her family.

“Believe in God, do only good things, and hope for only good things, and your soul will be at peace. Only then will you be satisfied with your life despite all of its difficulties,” is Grandma Olenik’s credo, which she shares with everyone at VOAH.

The Vanadzor Old Age Home (VOAH) is a FAR project sponsored by the Kevork and Sirvart Karamanuk Foundation and supported by the Women’s Guild Central Council of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern).