BY RACHEL NERSESIAN
SAN FRANCISCO — AIWA-SF and the three Bay Area Armenian Relief Society Chapters: Agnouni, Erepouni and Garin hosted a profoundly insightful evening to support the Women’s Support Center (WSC). Guests gathered at the beautiful Tufenkian Showroom within FloorDesign, San Francisco to hear WSC Executive Director Maro Matosian discuss the status of women in Armenia.
AIWA-SF has been a long time partner and supporter of the Women’s Support Center; it was an honor and privilege to have Matosian in the Bay Area. Founded by Mrs. Matosian in 2010, the WSC actively assists and empowers victims of domestic violence as well as advocate for the defense of women’s rights in Armenia. Matosian presented an illuminating discussion on the status of women in Armenia and how WSC programs address challenges facing women in Armenia today. Matosian remarks, “In a society where women are educated, offered equal opportunity as men, that is a society that advances. Today with the majority of the population in Armenia being women we cannot afford not using women’s potential to advance our country. For this we have to raise our voices and demand that women are treated with respect and break away from stereotypes that demean and belittle women for the only reason to reinforce sexism and male dominance.”
ARS Erepouni Chapter Chairperson Nora Shirikian, on behalf of all the three chapters, reflected on the evening’s discussion: “What an incredible, insightful and inspiring presentation by Maro Matossian. ARS Chapters of the Bay Area and AIWA-SF are staunch supporters of Armenian Women’s causes in Armenia and around the world.” Sophia Moradian, AIWA-SF Vice President, was also moved by the presentation: “It was a pleasure to meet and hear Maro speak about such an important topic that is quite difficult to discuss. It’s easier to not think or talk about such issues, but if we stay silent then we inherently support the perpetrators. This event helped to bring the issue of domestic violence to life and definitely engaged our audience.”
Meghedi Nazarian, author of Hearts of Armenia remarked, “This was such an important event for so many reasons and I was honored to be a part of it. Seeing various community organizations working together for a common cause was so special. And having Maro come all the way from Armenia to shed light on a topic that affects many of our Armenian sisters was definitely an eye-opening experience.” Throughout the event, guests were able to purchase a signed copy of her book, of which, half of proceeds are donated to AIWA-SF to support the Women’s Support Center. “Hearts of Armenia” is a picture book filled with 87 hearts captured by Meghedi during her stay in Armenia from April to October 2015.
Guests had the opportunity to participate in an exclusive silent auction of a gorgeous 5×7 Tufenkian artisan rug. The winner of the auction received a beautiful hand-knotted rug, named “GHARNI,” made of 100% wool and woven in the Tufenkian Artisan weave named Oushak. All proceeds from the auction went to the Women’s Support Center.
Sadly, domestic violence is quite widespread globally, and Armenia is certainly no exception, yet it is a topic that is rarely discussed, it is also an issue that isn’t well funded. The emotional evening also served as a fundraiser, as such all the funds raised from the evening will be donated to the Women’s Support Center.
In reflection upon the evening’s events, guest and Knightsbridge Wireless CEO commented, “With great excitement I always endeavor to attend all of AIWA-SF’s organized events. AIWA is truly a professional organization that connects, educates and supports Armenian women of all ages and backgrounds, and inspires them to give back to their communities through mentorship, networking and volunteerism. Personally, I am highly impressed and very proud and dedicated fan for being involved with such a noble organization”.
Special thanks to ARS Agnouni, Erepouni, and Garin Chapters, Hearts of Armenia, Floordesign, Tufenkian Foundation, and all those who attended. It’s because of your support that we are able to impact positive change. All proceeds from the evening went to support the Women’s Support Center’s incredibly important work in Armenia.