First-person perspectives on the world of work
Photo: ILO/OIT Vanya Beryozkin
Disability inclusion

Work gives me my independence

I cannot imagine my life without work. I feel proud and happy that I am working and able to contribute to society. One of my main motivations for working is to be able to help other people.

I work as a senior packer at my family’s bakery business in the city of Vanadzor in Armenia. We produce 50 types of baked goods. I love my job.

Before starting this job, I worked at another place that makes souvenirs but it was hard for me because I can get tired easily. With my mother’s support I overcame these difficulties.

When I started in first grade at school, there weren’t any other children with disabilities in my class. Some of the children made fun of me but I learned to stand up for myself and I gained the respect of the other children.

At the second school I attended my classmates helped me with things, like crossing the street or doing my homework. To show my appreciation, every Friday I brought some goods from our bakery and shared them with my classmates.

I still like to do this today. On every holiday I bring children goods from our bakery, especially around Christmas and New Year.

Rafael Martirosyan paints the surface of some pastries with an egg wash ahead of baking them.

I like to prepare and give baked goods to children, especially around the holidays. (2023)

© ILO/OIT Vanya Beryozkin

I want to work, not so much for the money, but to be involved in society. I also like to do charity work. I want to share positive things with people and to make them feel happy.

I like to do charity work. I want to share positive things with people and to make them feel happy.

Rafael MartirosyanSenior Packer, Lusia Food Company

A few years ago, they were asking for donations to complete a memorial dedicated to a prominent Armenian called Andranik Ozanyan. I donated my savings to this project. I received a certificate of gratitude from the Governor of the Lori region. I also received a certificate of appreciation for providing food to children during charitable events and received a certificate of gratitude for helping the local preschool.

Rafael Martirosyan sits on a chair and holds up one of his certificates for his volunteer work. Other certificates are laid out on the table in front of him.

I have received many certificates for my charitable work. I also received a professional certificate for completing culinary classes. I was very interested and was actively involved in the classes. (2023)

© ILO/OIT Vanya Beryozkin

My future plans are to open a café for people like me in Vanadzor. When we open our café, the proceeds will be donated to help children with Down syndrome with their education.

The most precious person to me is my sister. I want my sister to be the café manager. If the café business does well, I will expand my involvement in charity work. There are people in need that I can help.

The fact that I am working makes me more independent.

Rafael MartirosyanSenior Packer, Lusia Food Company

Work makes me a better person. As my co-workers will tell you, I am responsible and work hard. The fact that I am working makes me more independent.

Work is God’s gift. One must work and take care of one’s family. Even if the salary is small, people should be proud that they work and earn money in an honest way.

Rafael Martirosyan sits next to his mother.  He has his arm around her.  They look at the camera and smile.

With my mother’s support I have overcome many difficulties. (2023)

© ILO/OIT Vanya Beryozkin

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