[Ayo!]: Ayo! to a Dignified Meal

  • September 1, 2014 11:19 am

We are happy to share the final progress of Ayo’s latest initiative for FAR’s soup kitchens. Thanks to the successful campaign led by the Ayo! team, new kitchenware has been purchased for three of FAR’s soup kitchens, as well as an entirely new oven for the FAR-BAFA soup kitchen in Berd city of the Tavush region.

Malnutrition is a significant issue among the economically vulnerable groups of Armenia’s population. To address this problem, FAR began implementing a nutrition assistance program in 1995. The program benefits men and women of retirement age as well as large families in precarious financial conditions.

Every weekday, soup kitchens within the program provide a nutritious meal consisting of soup, a main course, bread, and juice or tea to every single beneficiary. Until recently, three soup kitchens in Berd, Gyumri, and Yerevan were lacking enough basic kitchenware to ensure a dignified meal for the roughly 500 people who seek nutritional help each day. The Berd soup kitchen needed a replacement oven as well.

With generous support from the ACYOA Juniors of Holy Trinity Armenian Church from Cheltenham, PA and the youth of the St. Mary Armenian Church Sunday School in Costa Mesa, CA, Ayo! and FAR were able to ensure better conditions for needy citizens of Armenia. Thanks to all those who supported Ayo! and FAR, these soup kitchens Armenia to lead a life of dignity and respect.

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[Young Professionals Trip]: YPT Alumni Reunite in NYC

  • August 29, 2014 10:05 am

YPT 2012 participants took an Armenian flag that was blessed by the priest of St. Kevork church in Javakhk to Ani

Recently, FAR hosted a reunion for the Young Professionals Trip’s alumni in New York City. On May 29th, several alumni gathered on the Diocesan Plaza for a night of great music, delicious food, and engaging conversation.

Participants from trips as far back as 1996 shared their experiences – allowing each other to track the progression of the trips. As guests joyfully reminisced to their time in Armenia, they were also introduced to a new way of engaging in positive development in Armenia: FAR’s crowdfunding platform and civic initiative Ayo! raises funds for local solutions to local challenges in Armenia and implements these projects through FAR.

The Young Professionals Trip (YPT) serves to bring together the diasporan community to discover their own Armenia. Traveling with FAR allows participants to gain a unique perspective on their ancestral homeland in addition to exploring the country’s beauty, history, and culture. FAR’s Young Professionals build relationships with local Armenians and come face to face with current issues in Armenia, better facilitating them to engage in the future of Armenia.

To learn more about the annual Young Professionals Trip to Armenia, and discover how you can be a part of this exciting community, please visit www.farusa.org/ypt/.

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[FAR Scholarships]: Supporting Education, Supporting Young People for a Better Future

  • August 27, 2014 9:54 am

Levon Abovyan

Levon Abovyan is from the modest village of Agarak in the forested and rolling Lori Region of Armenia.

He has been accepted into the Gyumri branch of the State Engineering University of Armenia to study in the department of Information Technologies and has applied to FAR’s Mathevosian Scholarship Program in the hopes of obtaining some financial support for his studies.

Each summer, members of FAR’s Education Programs committee conduct visits to the homes of scholarship hopefuls to acquaint themselves with each candidate’s living conditions.

FAR’s Yerevan office has received 47 applications for the Mathevosian Scholarship this year, three of which have come from the Lori region.

Siranuysh Matosyan

Siranuysh Matosyan from Shanahin village, known for its ancient monastery, is another such scholarship applicant. She has been accepted into the Armenian State University of Economics.

Shant Urusyan

Another scholarship seeker, Shant Urusyan is a future infant food technologist from the Agarak village of the Spitak area. He has been accepted into Armenian National Agrarian University.

Shant is one of four children in his family, the heroic brother to his three sisters. He has recently had to take on the role of Man of the House since the Urusyan family lost their father two years ago. It has been up to Shant to support his mother in many household tasks, but despite his young age, Shant is ready for any job, whether it is construction or herding sheep.

“I am never embarrassed of what I do, whatever job it is. I am embarrassed of what I haven’t managed to do,” Shant says proudly.

Each year FAR’s scholarship programs in combination accept dozens of new beneficiaries. There are currently 150 applicants for the 2014-2015 academic year and applications are still being accepted for some of the programs.

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[FAR Soup Kitchens]: To Give Bread and Hope

  • August 26, 2014 3:04 am

Nune Sargsyan with her daughter

Nune Sargsyan is 41 years old, a mother of four, and a regular visitor to FAR’s Soup Kitchen in Nor Hajn. Nune does not have the luxury of a regular job, and she frequently struggles to take care of her children. Her youngest, little Maryam, is just 1 year old and her eldest is her 15-year-old son Talyan.

For at least five days per week, FAR helps to alleviate some of her struggles by ensuring that she and her children receive a nutritious meal. The assistance has prevented Nune from gathering more and more debt just to provide her family with basic sustenance. The day we sat down with Nune at the soup kitchen, she and her family had just finished a hearty meal of pilaf, soup, and potato salad.

FAR works to ease the everyday nutrition worries of the 150 socially vulnerable residents of Nor Hajn who regularly visit the soup kitchen. FAR has re-opened the kitchen in the small struggling town of Nor Hajn to honor the memory of two distinguished Armenian women who had difficult lives but always shared what they had with those who were less fortunate.

The town of Nor Hajn is a pure result of Soviet socio-economic ideals. The urban settlement was created around several diamond-producing factories during the Soviet era, and the town suffered a huge decrease in diamond production after the collapse of the USSR, coupled with deep poverty of its citizens. Now in honor of the generous lives that Yeghsapet Jambazian-Mangoian and Yeghsapet Ambarian-Ouzounian led, the vulnerable population of Nor Hajn receives nutritious meals and a sense of comfort every day.

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[FAR Social Programs]: BCPP Develops the Creativity of Tavush Children

  • August 22, 2014 12:34 pm

Even though Alla Israelyan is only in the seventh grade, she could already be considered the youngest full-fledged artist in Nerqin Karmiraghbyur, a village near the town of Berd. Alla has been drawing since the second grade, but when she began attending FAR’s art classes, she discovered her innate talent and love for painting. “My family didn’t have means for paints, but I find it much closer to my nature to be painting with paints.”

Now, Alla spends every minute of her free time with colors. “I love natural colors in the fall. I’m always amazed by the beautiful landscapes in my dear village and the surrounding areas. I try to express my love for nature through very bright colors.”

The budding painter experiments with her newfound color sensitivity in art classes organized with FAR’s Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program in the Tavush region of Armenia. Children within FAR’s BCPP also have the opportunity to receive a religious education in Sunday schools, which are organized by FAR’s dear friend Rev. Fr. Aram Mirzoyan.

More than 320 children have the opportunity to attend art and other classes twice a week. Thanks to FAR’s regional office in Berd, the children have the opportunity to display their artwork during several exhibitions throughout the year.

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[GTech]: GTech Summer Session Courses

  • August 20, 2014 8:27 am

GITC Summer Session Courses

July 7, 2014 officially marked the start of GTech’s summer session courses. The courses last two months and include such subjects as English, Math, Computer Engineering, and Basics of Programming.

The aim of these courses is to give students the chance to obtain preliminary knowledge in the field of programming and thereby help set them on a path toward their future professions.

This year, 30 students are participating in summer session courses, 24 of whom are studying to apply for the two-year intensive IT program. The remaining students are participating in courses on computer basics. At the end of the two-month courses, students will take final exams, and upon successful completion, they will be awarded with certificates.

Every year GTech seeks to improve its academic curriculum, offering its students the most advanced knowledge from the field of programming that will make them competitive candidates for today’s job market.

With these yearly curriculum improvements, the number of applicants to GTech also increases every year as young people in Gyumri start to believe that GTech can be a dependable path toward a bright future in their native town.

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[FAR Children's Center]: Restoring Color to Life

  • August 19, 2014 11:06 am

Little Milena is six years old, and a new resident at FAR’s Children’s Center. She has temporarily moved to the Center with her brothers to allow their mother to work.

From the moment she arrived, Milena has tried at every moment to emulate the older children. Despite her tiny stature, she makes every effort to jump rope faster, climb higher, act more mature…but sometimes her reality catches up with her. It’s clear that Milena misses her mother very much and cannot wait to see her again.

It is for Milena and hundreds of other children like her whom FAR’s Children’s Support Center works ceaselessly to provide a nurturing and safe environment. These children’s lives have often become grey due to many difficulties, and it is the solemn charge of each hard-working staff member at the Children’s Center to bring some much-needed color back into their everyday experiences. However brief their contact may be, the Center strives to give each youngster everything they need to overcome all challenges, whether they are physical, spiritual, or psychological.

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