Our Repats: Aline Masrlian
18 Fabruary 2020
In the late 1990s, Aline Masrlian was a civil engineer working to restore the historic districts of Aleppo. Though Syria had always been home, she longed for more freedom for herself and young family. Following this instinct, she moved to Yerevan. While she remembers the city as “empty and black,” the prospect of a fresh start in her Homeland was invigorating. For the first time in Aline’s life, she felt like the land was “hers.”
After trying out different careers as a teacher, craft vendor and radio host, Aline decided to become her own boss. Thinking back to afternoons spent winding her way through traditional alleyway Souks back in Syria, she was inspired by the myriad of goods and the stories they told. This served as the impetus behind her business “Haleb,” which she named to honor the community that opened its arms to Armenians driven away from their homes during the Genocide. Starting as a modest storefront, Haleb now has three locations in Yerevan and over 300 retailers carrying their products. Despite the momentous growth, the family business is proud to be rooted in values of quality and sustainability - making sure to put an “Armenian touch” on the Middle Eastern goods they offer.
While moving to Armenia has afforded Aline and her family an incredible life, she has not turned away from the glaring problems that exist here. In her eyes, Armenia needs to honour the values it gradually lost during the turmoil of the 20th century, ultimately deciding how the nation wishes to define itself moving forward. It’s time to “make a new business plan,” and Aline advises anyone considering moving here to come be a part of it.