The Haig and Alice Koumjian Rug Weaving Memorial Scholarship was established in 2012 by George Yacoubian in memory of Haig and Alice Koumjian, George’s maternal grandparents. The Fund, which is endowed with a $500.00 donation each calendar year, is earmarked exclusively for orphaned Armenians pursuing a rug weaving trade.

Haig Koumjian, born in Alexandria, Egypt, came to the United States in 1926. Alice Koumjian (nee Amirkanian) and family moved from Massachusetts to Passaic, NJ, when she was nine. Haig and Alice married in 1936 and together established and managed the H. Koumjian & Company Rugs and Carpets, beginning in 1940, in Plainfield, NJ. Early on, their income was derived, in part, from Alice’s ability to weave and restore rugs. Through intelligence and perseverance, their business prospered and gained wide recognition in the community. After Haig passed away in May 1970, Alice continued the business for several years, selling the plant and closing the business in 1976. 

The rug making group at Gavar Orphanage was established in 1996, consisting of 15-20 children. Primarily, the historical Armenian decorative patterns are used in Gavar’s rug making art. Names given to the carpets include, “Artsakh,” “Yerevan.” “Erebouni,” and “Apricot.” For the 15-20 children involved in the group, carpet making is the defined goal for each child. It is the hope that each of the children who learn this trade can find work in the industry after leaving the orphanage. The carpets are sold to persons who visit the orphanage and vary in size and cost.

For more information on the Haig and Alice Koumjian Rug Weaving Memorial Fund, to make a donation to this Fund, or to discuss the creation of your own Fund, please contact National SOAR President, George S. Yacoubian, Jr., at (610) 213-3452 or gyacoubian@soar-us.org