Invisible Refugees (2016)

Online video | 5.13 min.

Movie Info

  • Release Date: 07 Mar, 2016
  • Country Armenia
  • Author Gaiane Mirzoyan
  • Published by Chai-Khana
  • Organization Chai-Khana


Competition status  – participant

The Dzorak Centre for the care of patients with mental disorders sits on the outskirts of Yerevan. In the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s the building was a Soviet boarding school; today it houses several families of Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan.

These refugees nearly lost their lives in the 1990s, a decade which left them in a very grave situation. The name of the site itself conveys their feelings of being trapped, ‘Turtle Gorge.’

One of the most pressing issues – housing – has remained unresolved for three decades, and even the most sincere feelings of optimism have given way to bleak despair. The building’s small rooms serve as kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms, with several families sharing a  bathroom.
In July 2015, the Dzorak mental health center opened within the building, making the living situation unbearable for refugees. In the center, there are more than 200 persons with mental disorders. The Center is designed to provide social services only and it does not treat patients who require treatment in a psychiatric hospital; despite this, however some of the patients are quite loud and disruptive, in particular those who suffer from schizophrenia.

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