[FAR CASP]: The Dream of Owning a Computer

  • January 16, 2015 10:40 am

Armine Tunyan has been raising her three sons on her own for five years now

Armine Tunyan has been raising her three sons on her own for five years now. Armine, Narek, Vahagn, Vahe and their grandmother live in the Hartashen, village of the Goris region in Syunik.

The road to Hartashen is almost always foggy and the streets in the village are full of muddy puddles.

Everyday when the boys come back from school, they’re muddy up to their knees. Their mother worries not so much about handwashing their clothes as much as she does about not being able to buy them new shoes.

As of this year, Narek and Vahe have become beneficiaries of FAR’s Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP). This means that one of many donor families in the U.S. will send financial support to these fatherless children at least once a year.

And while 35-year-old Armine’s greatest worry is being able to purchase winter shoes for her children, her eldest son Narek dreams of owning a computer.

“Mom,” he says, “aren’t those donors sending us money so that you can buy something for me?” Armine replies, “But I can’t this time. The kitchen and hallway ceilings are leaking – we have to renovate the roof so that we don’t freeze in the winter.”

“This was a gift from God – the way this door opened for us. I applied to the program two years ago and they just contacted me to let me know we’ve been accepted. Otherwise, my children would be coming home to ice. But I promised them, if nothing happens to them and I don’t need to spend money on them next year, I’ll buy them a computer with the benefactors’ gift,” Armine added.

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[Child Protection]: Daycare Service Aims to Provide Early Intervention for At-Risk Children

  • January 14, 2015 11:00 am

The Daycare Service project  has reached 43 at-risk children from 6 schools in the Zeytun District of Yerevan.

FAR Children’s Center successfully launched its Daycare Service project last year, which has already reached 43 at-risk children from six schools Yerevan’s in Zeytun District.

This service is designed to provide children with after school psychological support two or three times a week for early intervention and risk prevention. Children come to the Center at the recommendation of school officials. The risk of school drop out, the tendency of being isolated with few or no friends, bullying, conflict with the law and/or teachers, and even risk of suicide are the problems facing the children currently seeking help through the project. The children visit the Center two or three times per week to receive therapy and other assistance. The project focuses on children ages 11 to 16 in particular as they are at a higher risk of being influenced by pressure at school, stressful social situations, and the Internet.

The project provides psychological therapy, which aims to increase the confidence and self-esteem of the child. The therapy also aims to mend the broken relationship the child often has with his or her family. Other services include art therapy, workshops on the law and rights, dance therapy, workshops on norms, ethics and communication skills.

“The FAR Children’s Center developed this project in order to create a risk-prevention program. There are so many children who come to the Center too late. The daycare service as a form of early intervention can help them to avoid coming to the center as long-term beneficiaries,” Center Director Mira Antonyan said.

The Children’s Center is working on expanding this service in the future. The next steps of the program are focused on increasing the number of people serviced and the amount of services provided.

“We will also increase the number of days the children come to the Center. We plan to incorporate family members into our program, as involving family members in the therapy and the services is valuable in the quest to recover the child’s relationship with them. We plan to increase the amount of workshops to include topics such as sports, computer literacy, music, English, cooking, and dressing for success,” said Mira.

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[GTech]: Forty Four More Teachers are Trained by Gtech

  • January 12, 2015 10:30 am

Teachers from 15 villages in the Berd Region participated in the GTech training at FAR's Berd office.

With support from FAR and the Armenian Educational Foundation, GTech continued its teacher trainings for those specializing in informatics in Armenia and Karabakh. Trainings were conducted for 44 teachers in the Berd Region as well as in the Karabakh cities of Martuni, Martakert and Askeran. The trainings are aimed to keep educators aware of the changes and innovations of the field and help them to develop professionally.

During the trainings they received appropriate professional literature and programs to cover the subject material, as well as the opportunity to focus on topics of individual interest. And those who successfully passed exams received certificates of completion.

Since 2009 this project has been implemented in the regions of Shirak, Lori, Tavush, Aragatsotn, Vayots Dzor and Syunik, as well as throughout Karabakh.

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[Ayo!]: With One Year Under its Belt Ayo has Much in Store for 2015

  • January 9, 2015 4:42 pm

The cake was delicious.

Ayo! has happily celebrated its first birthday and welcomed all of its friends to the party.

During its first year Ayo! made it possible for 100 visually impaired kids to get an equal education by providing them with a Braille printer. The brilliant team of five with great assistance from volunteers also gave 70 children with physical disabilities the opportunity to move independently within their school by constructing a new elevator. The Ayo! team –Armen, Jemma, Tatevik, Helena and Talin– along with volunteers Arman, Adam, Sona and many others made it possible for 500 elderly people to eat dinner in dignity by raising the money needed to provide them with new dishware.

Now, there’s a long list of projects for 2015 to tackle. Click here to learn more about how you can help Ayo! reach even more Armenians in its second year.

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[FAR Schools]: Octet Students Send Warmest New Year Wishes to their Benefactors

  • January 7, 2015 2:02 pm

To send their warmest wishes for 2015 the students of Gyumri Octet Music School prepared a concert for their dedicated supporters Raffi and Shoghag Hovanessian, which you can watch below.

Also featured in the video are Ani Khachatryan who underwent corrective surgery thanks to the support of the Hovanessians, and Raya Grigoryan and Hripsime Mkrtchyan who graduated Yerevan State Conservatory’s Gyumri branch with the help of scholarships from the Hovanessians.

The Hovanessians support Octet in addition to the Hovanessian Cultural Hall of St. Joachim and St. Anne Armenian Apostolic Church in Palos Heights, IL.

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[FAR New York]: Happy Holidays from FAR

  • December 24, 2014 12:04 pm

Christmas tree made out of felt

With Christmas right around the corner, FAR Armenia’s office is busy preparing bags of candy and chocolate to bring to more than 800 children who live on the border in the Tavush Region. The children come from the 260 families who are all beneficiaries of FAR’s Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program. FAR initiated its “Bank of Chocolate” to raise money and collect more than 500 kilos of sweets. Individuals from Armenia and abroad, companies and schools joined the campaign, which was organized by FAR’s Helena Melkonyan and Anna Grigoryan.

Each and every piece of candy that FAR will bring to the children on New Year’s Eve will surely bring 800 more smiles to Armenia, along with “thank yous” to those around the globe who helped to brighten their holiday season.
Those 800 smiles are the reward for the work we carry out with your support. We extend our deepest and more heartfelt gratitude to all of you. Thanks to you, FAR has been able to help more of Armenia’s youth obtain an education and FAR can continue to assist vulnerable children to access the support they need. FAR can help doctors strengthen their medical practices, provide meals to those who would otherwise go hungry, and so much more—all thanks to you.

Here’s to another successful year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

P.S. We’ll take a brief holiday break from our blog posts between December 24th and January 6th. See you in 2015!

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[FAR Health programs]: Conference Aims to Combat Malnutrition

  • December 23, 2014 2:11 pm

Columbia University endocrinologist and osteopath Dr. John Bilezikian focused specifically on the importance of children’s diets and also access to iodine

FAR never misses a chance to raise awareness about malnutrition. With a project that specifically focuses on eradicating this issue, FAR took the opportunity this fall to host a conference on nutrition led by Columbia University endocrinologist and osteopath Dr. John Bilezikian. The conference focused specifically on the importance of children’s diets and also access to iodine.

FAR has been examining children malnutrition problems in Armenia’s Tavush province and has made positive progress after implementing a multi-component strategy through its Malnutrition Program as part of Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program. Dr. Kim Hekimian from Columbia University, who also spoke at the conference, brought forth FAR’s work in battling malnutrition as an example. Dr. Hekimian highlighted the fact that 22 percent of poor families in addition to 16 percent of rich families suffer from either malnutrion or “under” nutrition, which is evidence that it is not always a problem of means but also an issue of knowing about the correct diet.

Dr. Bilezikian also talked about the importance of iodine access in iodine scarce country like Armenia. He noted it was positive that Armenia uses iodized salt to overcome the problem yet underlined the strongest demand on contemporary survey of biomarkers in Armenia, which will allow Armenia to fill the holes in nutrition and to develop a comprehensive policy towards better results.

“I am so glad that the nutrition conference went so well and want to thank you for helping so much. We are looking forward to continuing the momentum with particular regard to the issues that were discussed at the AUA conference,” Dr. Bilezikian said.

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