Sirun Ohanyan is a deminer in Nagorno Karabakh. Originally she trained as a teacher before marrying and raising her children. She began working for HALO eight months ago, seeing it as an opportunity to open new horizons for herself and her family and would love to see other women become deminers and realise their ambitions too.
(Image: © Eva Clifford)
What does your family think of you working as a deminer?
In the first few months my family wasn’t particularly keen on the situation, but then they got used to it and now they’re proud that I’m doing this work alongside the men.
What’s it like living in remote camps? What’s it like living away from your family?
Before joining HALO they warned us that the work is going to be out in the fields, far away from home, so we all came ready for those conditions. We arrange our home life as much as possible to be able to do this job. It’s not that hard in the end, but of course being mothers we miss our family when we are far from home… But on the whole, it’s not that difficult and we don’t even notice how the week goes by.
What do other women think of you doing this job?
Men and women can do the same work. Women can actually do this job better than men because they are more detail-oriented, more responsible, and more cautious! [Here Sirun smiles!]
There are no institutions out there where only men or only women work. Everywhere men and women work together. Here all the men are respectful to the women. I call on our women and girls to come and do this work. It has its difficulties but also interesting aspects… if you come, you’ll be convinced and won’t regret it!
What are your ambitions for the future?
I want to be able to continue to work so that my children can realise their ambitions.
What opportunities has your job given you or your family?
This job has given me the opportunity to open new horizons for myself and to get to know my own abilities better. For my family as a whole, it’s given us the chance to improve our economic situation, which has been very tough over the past years.
If you could ask a fellow female deminer from around the world one question, what would it be?
I would ask them what they think about this work and what their motivation was to join HALO. If I had the good fortune to meet a female deminer from another country, I think we would be able to understand each other without any words.