Armenia: Two best friends making a living

tbtVardanyan Vatche 17 years old and Arthur Simonyan 18 years old, are best friends.  They have many things in common:  They both come from economically deprived families, they are the eldest of three siblings, they have not completed high school, and they came to Orran knowing only that they would like to learn to repair cellular phones.  Orran through a grant from the Open Society Institute was able to include them in a special program where young people are set up for apprenticeship with skillful masters.  Although the going price being charged by the masters in this field was $1000, the master that was approached by Orran, learning of the family situation of the young men was generous to give a 50% discount on his fee.

The friends did well.  They were eager to learn, they had a caring master and within a few months they could manage to do the work alone.  Subsequently, Vatche and Arthur submitted a business plan to Orran to open their small shop.  Orran gave each of the boys $500, which put together was good seed money to start their small operation. Since February of 2012, the boys are leasing a small shop for $150 a month in the district of Arabkir and repairing phones six days a week.

“Sometimes we make good money, sometimes we have no business, but the important thing is that we now have a trade and we can earn enough money to take care of our family’s basic needs” states Vatche.


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