Canadian-Armenian couple considers Armenia the only homeland for Armenians

Mr. and Mrs. Markar and Elise Sharabkhanians have been living in the Ushi village of Aragatsotn Province of Armenia since 2007 and consider Armenia the only homeland for Armenians. The couple has renovated the village school and built a cultural center.

Markar Sharabkhanian was born in Greece, received his education in Italy and has lived in Canada for 40 years, but as he told Armenpress, he only feels Armenian in Armenia. “I have been to different countries, but I have not felt like he is Armenian in neither Greece, nor Italy nor Canada. I am aware of my identity only in Armenia. Those Armenians, who were born and raised abroad, need to live in Armenia. Whether we like it or not, we Armenians are foreigners in any country. Armenia is the only country that we feel is ours,” Markar Sharabkhanian noted, stating that Armenia is not only Yerevan, but also the regions and the villages. “I believe in Armenia’s villagers. Rural economy needs to grow. Ushi is a small village. Ten years ago, I purchased a plot of land, built a home, and I currently work on the land with the villagers. We renovated the local school and built a cultural center in the village.”

In 1979, after working at the library of a university in Canada for a decade, Markar Sharabkhanian decides to establish a school and lays the foundation for the daily Armenian school of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) with the support of the ARS. “I started with a kindergarten and went up the ladder every year. We started with 75 pupils. Today, the School has 650 pupils. At the age of 18, our pupils get accepted to universities. Out of 100 alumni, 97 get accepted to universities. Although the languages of instruction are French and English, this is an Armenian school,” Markar Sharabkhanian says.

Markar visited Armenia during the Soviet era, but it wasn’t the same. “In 1986, I called the parents of my alumni and told them to purchase a ticket to Armenia for their children instead of buying them a watch, a cross or other item, and I came to Armenia with 21 others. It was the Soviet era.”

Talking about his move to Armenia with his wife, Markar assured that both he and his wife are residents of Ushi. “She hasn’t complained and still doesn’t complain. If you are married, your wife or husband also has to want to come to Armenia. You can’t come alone,” Markar Sharabkhanian added.

Even today, the couple has many plans in the village. The Sharabkhanians aren’t planning on returning to Canada. They admire Ushi and consider it their only home.

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