Garo Halajian: “We need complete peace and unity, and a wonderful future will be guaranteed”

It is time to stop referring to the Armenians having settled in Armenia due to the Syrian war as Syrian-Armenians, but simply as Armenians. Living and working in Armenia for many years, they have become so well established and full-fledged citizens of Armenia that sometimes it seems as though they are originally from Yerevan, even with the words and phrases that they use on a daily basis. Most of our compatriots are already well-known in Yerevan, in several provinces and in Artsakh with their trade networks, delicious food outlets, jewels, decorative arts, embroidery and wonderful crafts, as well as in the spheres of medicine, jewelry making, exact sciences and other spheres.

The main character of my article for Hayern Aysor electronic newspaper is Garo Halajian, who moved from Syria to Armenia, opened his Mosini sportswear outlet on one of the major streets of Yerevan and continues to make and sell cotton clothes produced in Syria.

“Here I am continuing what I have been doing for the past 35 years. In Syria I had a factory and about 500 employees. Our factory had sections for embroidering, printing, packaging, design and sewing. We would produce quite a lot of items every year and would export 80% of our products to Arab countries. Some products would be exported to Europe, and fewer products would be exported to Greece. We would produce sportswear and casual clothes. I started this business. At first, I would bring clothes from abroad, but later, when Syrian law prohibited imports of any products and Syria boosted local production, I changed my working style. Syria has plenty of cotton, and the sphere began to develop. When imports were prohibited, the locals enhanced local production and expanded it. Moving to Armenia, I tried to do the same job in Yerevan and worked with a local factory. I rented a part of the area of Garoun sewing factory. I print on the clothes and wish to expand my production slowly. I have created nearly forty jobs. That is all I can say for now. We have tried to establish contacts with Syrian-Armenians in the Russian Federation to sell our products there. It was easier for us to solve the problem with raw material for clothes in Syria. We brought the raw material from China to produce clothes in Armenia. I brought some raw material from Syria before my factory was robbed. Now I bring it from China. I managed to save some cloths from my storage room, but the packages, all types of equipment and necessary accessories were robbed. As to whether or not I have adapted to the environment in Armenia and particularly in Yerevan, I must say that I have always been in touch with Armenia before the war broke out in Syria. Due to my job, I would come to Armenia often. I was supplying Armenia with camouflage in the mid-1970s.

I graduated from the Department of Economics of the University of Syria. The profession that I chose became very necessary for my job. My family has also adapted to life in Armenia. My mother and wife, Lena Halajian are also living with me in Yerevan. My wife is the president of the Center for Coordination of Syrian-Armenians’ Issues NGO. We have four sons-Movses, Saro, Raffi and Shant. They have all studied in the United States. When my elder son, Movses finished his studies, I urged him to return to Syria and help me at the factory, but the war broke out, and we all came to the Homeland. Now my elder son, Movses is here. I have named my shop after him with a little twist-“Mosini”. We are living and working. We are content, and the important thing is that we are safe. I really want to boost domestic production. Our customers praise our products and really like the quality, material and design. On the label we write that it is made in Armenia. I am happy to have settled in the Homeland. Even when the war ends, we won’t go back to Syria. We will simply collaborate, keep in touch and visit on different occasions. After all, it is the birthplace for many Syrian-Armenians and a part of our lives. For me, Armenia is an inexplicable force and power. The fruits here taste different. We had barbecue in Syria, but even the smell and taste of Armenian barbecue are different.

I would really like to collaborate with companies in other countries because the quality of our products is no different from the quality of their products. I believe we will achieve our goals in the near future, and one of those goals is to open a branch in Artsakh.

We need complete peace, unity, talented people, consolidation of professionals, and a wonderful future will be guaranteed.”

This was the story of Armenian businessman Garo Halajian within and beyond the Homeland where that story continues for the development of Armenia’s economy and the welfare of the home that he has created on his native land.

Karine Avagyan

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