The sea took the Syrian-Armenian girl’s family from her, and Armenia became her lifesaver

The story of the Syrian-Armenian Tekeian family touched the hearts of many people last year. Our hero, Serli Tekeian waited for days and weeks with the hope of finding her family again, but unfortunately, she only managed to save her sister, Arina…

The story begins from Sasun and Aintab where the great-grandfathers of Serli’s mother’s and father’s sides were born. Like many survivors of the Armenian Genocide, they also took shelter in Syria where they created their new home. All members of 18-year-old Serli’s family had a great love for the arts. Her father had a guitar club in Syria, and her mother was a pianist. A couple of years ago, the family moved from Syria to Lebanon, and during those years, Serli’s mother was teaching at Hamazkayin’s school in Beirut.


The only thing was that Armenia was constantly on Serli’s mind. In April 2015, Serli came to Yerevan with her grandmother and maternal uncle. “God brought me to Yerevan. It seemed as though Yerevan was the center of the world,” Serli told Hayern Aysor as she remembered the events that took place last year.

While Serli settles in Yerevan, starts attending the local school and makes new friends, her family (mother, father, grandmother, 19-year-old sister and 10-year-old brother) decides to sit on a boat, travel from Beirut to Turkey and then to Greece so that it can move to Germany to be with Serli’s maternal aunt. However, this family was not destined to be together. On the way from Turkey to Greece, the ship sinks, and the four members of Serli’s family (mother, father, grandmother and 10-year-old brother) drown. Only her sister, Arina is saved. She swims to Izmir for four hours. Today, she lives in Yerevan with her sister.

Serli isn’t able to hold back her tears as she talks about what she experienced during those days, but even in this case, there is love in her eyes, not bitterness. By the way, the name Serli means just that. Her name is composed of the Armenian words “ser” (love) and “li” (full)…

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“After all these losses, I realize that you can’t live in peace again by only being a “human being”. You also need that which is divine and unearthly…Faith is what saves me,” said the 18-year-old Armenian who, after undergoing all these trials and tribulations, is full of joy, loves the Homeland and has plans for the future. This year, Serli graduated from school and is thinking of becoming a designer. She still hasn’t decided which university she will apply to, but is certain that her love for the Homeland and the arts won’t change no matter which path she chooses to take.

Julieta Matevosyan

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