“I have loved hairdressing a lot, but I didn’t have the resources to study [it],” Ayda explains.

A single mother of two children, Ayda was supporting the family through what they could produce on a very small piece of land in their native Armenia. She and her children attend a Nazarene church where her children also attend Vacation Bible School and a Kids Club (a child development center where they receive academic, social, and spiritual support).

Ayda is part of a new Nazarene ministry in Armenia through which people can learn job skills and small business training. Classes are varied, including hairdressing, cooking, baking, learning foreign languages, and more. The training is open to anyone struggling with food insecurity. Many participants have migrated from places like Lebanon, where they weren’t able to earn a living in the midst of the country’s financial crisis.

“When the pastor approached me and presented the project to me, I understood that it was an answer to prayers,” Ayda says.

After participating in a hairdressing course, Ayda set up a salon in a corner of her home, welcoming clients regularly. “My next dream is to have my own salon,” she shares.

Varditer was also part of one of the initial hairdressing classes. She lives with her husband, children, and mother-in-law—and she works at an elderly home as a caretaker and a hairdresser, a job she wouldn’t have been able to get before the classes. “I was given priority to be employed by the senior home because I also have hairdressing skills,” she explains.

While job skills training is the key focus of the ministry, it is closely aligned with Kids Clubs, food security projects, and other organizations, including the Red Cross, addressing the needs in Armenia. The ministry leaders also hold regular meetings with people in each area where they work. This allows them to assess the needs, developing the classes and training based on people’s learning interests.

The classes demonstrate the potential for small-scale economic development projects in Armenia, including the ways the church can be an advocate and support for vulnerable people.

reporting by Rita Lao

photos thanks to NCM in Armenia

story shared from NCM Magazine