Vrouyr’s Story, Armenia

Vrouyr Bilemjian, a displaced Syrian youngster, inspires other displaced for a brighter future and a new, better life in host Armenia.

UNHCR Armenia photo WRD story

Vrouyr, a displaced Syrian student volunteering for UNHCR, at the classical music festival by Syrians. Photo by Sosi Blkhian, a displaced Syrian young woman/2013.

By Anahit Hayrapetyan, UNHCR Armenia External Relations Associate, 2014.

In September 2012 twenty-year-old Vrouyr and his family: Grigor, 57, his mother, Raqel, 43, and his sister Arvin, 14, fled the conflict in Syria and arrived in Armenia, the land of their ancestors. Vrouyr was sad and uncertain of his future as he had to quit his studies at the Medical University in Aleppo and leave behind his home and friends. Vrouyr’s family was one of those among 12,000 displaced Syrians who came to Armenia with mere savings in their pocket and some belongings they brought with them. Vrouyr likes to quote Einstein’s words: ‘’The bundle of belongings isn’t the only thing a refugee brings to his new country.’’

Gradually, the family started to get into their new life owing to their will to rebuild their lives, their hard work and patience. Rather than seeking support for his family Vrouyr guides and refers other displaced Syrians to UNHCR’s emergency assistance and integration projects. Due to the government support to Syrian students Vrouyr resumed his studies at the Medical University in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. He met new friends and expanded his social network, and he became a UNHCR volunteer to help the displaced Syrian families. Vrouyr is full of enthusiasm and innovative ideas. He has unfolded his talent of a genuine volunteer, a person who can ‘give’ rather than ‘take’. ‘’UNHCR opened the doors of the humanitarian world for me. I understood that helping those who are in need, is my crucial mission’’, Vrouyr is assured.

Vrouyr initiated many activities and events through inspiring refugees and locals to participate in them to unite: football and street-ball tournaments, music festivals, art events and charity bazaars. ‘’Football as a team game promotes tolerance and fairness. Music pacifies, and art purifies. You befriend, and your success becomes your friend’s success”, Vrouyr is convinced.

‘’UNHCR is my home. I feel proud that I am a UNHCR volunteer and that I can help the organisation to make a positive change in refugees’ lives, place compassion and love towards them in the society’’, Vrouyr says in excitement.

1 family torn apart by war is too many

Learn more about our work with refugees at UNHCR.org