Dancing group “Lernetsiner (the Lernetsis)” will remember their trip to Italy for the rest of their lives. It’s unknown how everything was going to end for the Armenian guys in the age of 8-23 if the help of the diaspora members didn’t come in time.
The ten-year-old Sergey Badalyan is performing the traditional Armenian dance on the platform of one of the schools in Yerevan. Looking at this boy, it is hard to imagine that only a few days ago he was in Italy with other boys and girls, and their return to the homeland was under question.
With the other members of the dancing group “Lernetsiner” (“Highlanders”), Sergey, with their artistic director Arthur Hakobyan on their lead went to Sardinia to take part in a festival. Five thousand kilometers from Yerevan to Sardinia and the same way back, the ensemble had to pass the way by bus. On their way back home, at their second day of the trip, the bus in which all the collective members traveled, went bad. As a result the ensemble got stuck in Ferrara city.
“At the second day of our trip, we were told that the bus was harmed. I didn’t get scared because there were many of us and we had fun together. We were sure that our Armenians wouldn’t leave us in trouble,”- said Sergey to the correspondent of “Sputnik Armenia”.
The artistic director of the ensemble “Lernetsiner” Arthur Hakobyan has dealt with such a situation for the first time.
“Having the trip exactly by bus was a condition of the festival. We had a long way to Sardinia and if it was in a bad repair from the beginning, we would have understood that at once”- stated Hakobyan in his talk to the correspondent of “Sputnik Armenia”.
The breakdown had happened on their way back, but Arthur who stuck in Italy with 36 children of the age 8-12, wasn’t confused and first of all made a phone call to his motherland Armenia.
The Armenians hurry to help.
In five hours after the bus stopped, the Armenian community members in Bologna hurried to help. The head of diaspora Vostan Andreasyan who was in Yerevan with his family at the time, had organized that meeting.
“I was called in the evening and told that our children had stuck in Italy, the bus was in a bad condition”- said to the correspondent of “Sputnik Armenia” the head of the apparatus of the Ministry of Diaspora Yerem Simonyan. Simonyan contacted the deputy director of the air-company “Armenia” Gevorg Khachatryan, then with Andreasyan. While Simonyan and Khachatryan were thinking how to bring the children back to their homeland, Andreasyan’s friends, by his request had already decided the problem of overnight stay and food. Half of the children were placed in a hotel, the others were taken to Andreasyan’s home.
Vostan himself keeps silent about his help and answering the question how, being in Armenia, he managed to organize and shelter so many children, he is only smiling.
“It’s our responsibility to help our compatriots in a foreign land. We only tried to be useful as much as possible,”- answered Vostan modestly.
The return to home
The return to Armenia was epic. The air-company, having no straight flights from Bologna to Yerevan, offered to take the children to their homeland from Lyon.
The representative of the Armenian community of a French city Raffi Krikoryan and a famous French businessman of Armenian origin Arman Bahaduryan took the responsibility to take the children from Bologna to Lyon. But the variant with Lyon was soon dropped off, despite the fact that only in 15 minutes Krikoryan had found families in Lyon to host the children.
As a result the most acceptable way (including for children) turned out to be the way back home from Venice. For the organization of sending the children from Italy the air-company “Armenia” and one of the Yerevan tourism companies spent lots of efforts.
Now the children are already safe at home and they are remembering the events taken place only a few days ago in Italy with smiles. The children and their parents are going to remember their adventures and those who helped them in a difficult situation for the rest of their lives.
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