A recent hiking trip organized by the FAR Children’s Center, enabled 16 disadvantaged youth (aged 12-16), among them asylum-seekers, refugees and survivors of violence, to build their resilience and team-building skills.

The three-hour hike took place on the 2,528-meter-high Mount Hatis in the Kotayk Province, about a 40-minute drive from Yerevan. Initiated by the FAR Children’s Center in honor of World Refugee Day, the activity was aimed as a way to help these kids learn about how to cope with difficulties and challenges, as well as how to work together on problem-solving and building resilience. As many of the participants also suffer from mental illness and behavioral problems, the excursion was particularly challenging.

When asked what motivated them to move forward when the rocky path seemed impassable, one participant* said, “I thought about my friends who are refugees, who have crossed difficult roads and passed hundreds or thousands of miles through formidable challenges.”

Another group member mentioned that, for him, overcoming such difficulties meant being truly strong-willed and possessing an ability to defeat life’s problems and move forward.
“For some of the children, this campaign, which is called ‘Together, We Conquer the Heights,’ symbolizes the trail that they had to pass through to find asylum, for others it’s a victory over lifelong hardships and problems,” said Children’s Center Case Manager Tatevik Ghazaryan.

In February 2018, the Children’s Center partnered with UNHCR on a specific initiative that aims to provide life-saving services and support to displaced children in Armenia, of which this activity was a part. Several kids supported through the Center are refugees or asylum seekers from places like Syria and Iraq.

Despite the difficulties and fatigue, the kids were happy and enthusiastic. Many even said that they would be happy to do it again.

*Name is being withheld to protect this child’s identity.