Point of View

“I have a lot of housework to do” says 14-year-old Svetlana who often misses classes


14-year-old Yezidi Svetlana and her 11-year-old brother Edgar often miss classes. The reason is the troubles at home which fell on children's lot after their parents had left for Russia.

They live in village Arevut which is a Yezidi community in Aragatsotn marz in Armenia. The residents of the village are engaged with cattle-breeding. Many left the village for Russian Federation.

In April 2011 the parents of Svetlana and Edgar left for Russia. They are in care of 20-year-old brother and grandmother. Last year in November the grandmother moved to her daughter's house in Hoktemberyan as she was very ill and needed care. 

It is more than two months Svetlana cares about the troubles at home, she lights the stove in the morning, cooks and does the laundry. They have 6 cows, 12 bulls, 6 goats and 20 hens. Edgar helps Svetlana to feed the animals, clean the cattle shed, the elder brother brings water, throws out the dung and sells meat. The money they save they send to their parents in Russia.

"Do you manage to do so much work?" I asked Svetlana. She did a positive movement with her head. In question "Why didn't you go to school today?" she answered "I had a lot of work to do, I didn't manage".

If they have free time Svetlana and Edgar watch TV and play games with a cell phone. In warm weather Edgar plays football with his friends in the school football field.

Svetlana says that they manage to learn the lessons along with the housework but the Headmaster of school introduces another situation.

 "They went to school in September and October, the days were longer, they finished the work in cattle shed early and came to school. Now they come every other day. We adjust ourselves to this situation and tell them to come to school as soon as they finish the work. When they do not come we go to their house and bring them, the teachers go to their house and give the homework and correct the homework. What else should we do? We do not have any other possibility, we cannot expel them. The parents should have thought about their children and not leave in such a big trouble" says the Headmaster of Arevut school Khatun Harutyunyan. She turned to police and village Mayor and introduced them the situation but she doesn't know how to act.

Svetlana studies at 7th form. She likes Geography at school. To the question "What do you want to become?" she answers without thinking long- Doctor. The girl says her parents will come back at the end of February and take them to Russia. "If I go to Russia I'll study and enter an institute" says Svetlana. And Edgar likes Mathematics and wishes to be a teacher of Mathematics.

According to the Headmaster of Arevut school she doesn't remember that even one pupil from their school has continued their education during the latest 15 years. Not everyone gets 10 year education.

"It is not the children's fault, the education is not important for the parents and they do not want their children to get education. They are not interested in education, they do not even want to spend money for exercise-books. It was not like this in Soviet Union" says Khatun Harutyunyan.

As she says they try to persuade the pupils with good academic performance to continue their education but they listen to their parents.

Maybe it is a national peculiarity, mentality. They have very good characteristic features but they do not have aspiration for education. The girls become good mothers and daughters-in-law, the boys keep a good home" says the Headmaster.

Mery Alexanyan

Source: www.hra.am