While walking to work every morning on Alec Manukyan street, I see a man in an electric wheelchair crossing the road faster than the cars at rush hour on the way to his little cobbler’s workshop, which is little more than a kiosk. This man is 63-year-old Edik Abrahamyan, who suffered a spinal injury in the Madagհis region during the Artsakh war and has been in a wheelchair for the past 27 years.
If we look past the wheelchair, we will see a man who loves life and is passionate about his work. He raised three children and worked hard to provide them an education. But getting adjusted to reality after the war was not easy. “When this happened to me, I thought that life no longer made sense, it’s hard to live,” he admits. “At that time, the Red Cross organized trainings for people with disabilities. There I met a lot of people like me who learned carpentry, embroidery, tapestry and many other crafts. I chose shoe repair, and it became my way to make a living. I found hope there and realized that everything was not over yet.”
Avoiding modesty, he is quick to acknowledge that he is a good cobbler and that his customers are always happy and satisfied. It was difficult for him to buy his workshop, but it became his little paradise where he communicates with people, provides services and meets with friends. Cobbler Edik is not very interested in politics. He says, “Everything will be as it should be.” With the typical optimism of someone from Karabakh, he adds, “Whatever happens, it will end well.”
Despite his optimism, Edik is concerned about the many inconveniences he faces while traversing across the city. Traveling in a wheelchair is extremely difficult since the ramps are poorly designed, hard to use and lack any standards. He is grateful to philanthropist Hrant Tovmasyan from the U.S who sent him a car and an electric wheelchair so that he can move around without assistance.
Although everyone encounters various challenges throughout life, Edik was able to accept and overcome his with honor and dignity. Raising his three children and making their dreams come true became his primary goal in life as a guiding light through difficult times.
For many people, Edik is a vivid example of purpose: a man who fights, refuses to give up, overcomes difficult trials and enjoys life.
By Gayane Gevorgyan,
proof-reader at the “Azat Artsakh” republican newspaper
The post was prepared in the framework of a project on Building Capacity for Societal Engagement in Nagorno-Karabakh implemented by the Caucasus Institute in partnership with Armavir Development Centre, Civil Society Institute and INTRA Mental Health Centre.