Almost all those coming to the village had been city dwellers in the past. In order to survive in their new life, they had to learn to work the land. Apart from doing this, Rada volunteered for international organisations. Now, Ellada volunteers for humanitarian organisations too.
As a schoolchild, Ellada damaged her spine. In order to ensure that they could care for her properly, the family moved to a new wing in the halls of residence. That way, they could have slightly more comfortable accommodation, although this meant they could not privatise their home.
By buying some furniture and household necessities cheaply from neighbours who were leaving the halls, the family was able to furnish its modest new flat.
After realms of letters from refugees, the state finally allowed the flats in the building to be privatised. The property is not in any decent state, yet for the refugees who did not own a home, this was still good news.
"They can’t really leave the house now, they can’t go anywhere or visit relatives, because their home could be given to another family," Rada explains.
"The UN and Mission Armenia helps us," she continues. "It’s just hard that there isn’t any work."
Karine’s husband works repairing cars. She and her mother-in-law raise the couple’s two children. In October 2017, Raqqa was finally liberated, yet Karine’s family is unlikely to return: the once flourishing city now lies in ruins.
It is currently home to over 40 families.
Ani met her husband in Armenia after he lost his first wife in Iraq. The two children from his first marriage came to live with him and Ani, and the couple now also have two children of their own.
"I remember Iraq with such warmth. We never used to notice who was from where. But after the government was overthrown, chaos broke out, and it got dangerous staying there. When they began to kidnap children, we got really frightened, and left," Ani explains.
After several years spent renting flats in Yerevan, the couple was finally given accommodation in the new building in Darbnik. Ani became active in pushing for better services in the village. "When we first arrived, there was not much here. There was no football pitch, no kindergarten, no convenient transport. We began to put pressure on the authorities to sort things out, and eventually, minibuses appeared instead of the dusty buses, and began to run every half hour," Ani recalls.