[FAR VOAH]: Women’s Guild to Raise Money in Support of VOAH

  • May 1, 2015 11:30 am

“Life is good here and I am satisfied,” says Seda.

Louisa Baghdasaryan is particularly busy these days. As Coordinator of the Women’s Guild Central Council of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, she is preparing a number of May events to garner greater support for FAR’s Vanadzor Old Age Home (VOAH). Louisa will present at the annual meeting of the Women’s Guild on May 7, in addition to giving presentations during the Annual Assembly of the Diocese, which will be held in Washington, DC, from May 7th to 9th.

Back in December, Louisa visited VOAH to become better familiarized with the facility, the activities of its residents, and to better understand the challenges the administration is coping with. The most crucial of these is the poor condition of the road leading to the home. Damaged and filled with potholes, it causes trouble for anyone traveling to and from the building. Most importantly, however, is that it can delay the arrival of an ambulance during an emergency.

Louisa’s efforts are primarily focused on raising funds to renovate the road and they will supplement those already been raised by VOAH supporter Sahan Arzruni. Louisa will speak about everything she witnessed during her visit, including several one-on-one experiences she had with VOAH residents. One that particularly struck her was 81-year-old Seda Ghazaryan, who found a home at VOAH after 48 years of working at a kindergarten, a garment factory, and a hospital to make ends meet.

Seda is very happy that VOAH has enabled her to finally obtain the “family” she was never able to have. “The nurses at VOAH are just brilliant. They help me a lot. I feel at home when they speak to me in a pleasant, sweet way. What else could an old lady like me need from life at this age? I live here as my heart wants. I go outside when I want to, buy food, and ask the cook here to cook it for me. Then I eat along with the others,” she said. “Nothing has been or will ever be perfect in one’s life. But life is good here and I am satisfied.”

Since 2002, FAR has handled everyday activities and day-to-day operations for the elderly of VOAH through direct care and access to medical care and social services.

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[FAR Schools]: Newly Renovated Schools to Improve Educational Opportunity for Armenia’s Border Villages

  • April 30, 2015 1:24 pm

March 18 was a truly special day for nearly all 600 residents of Chinchin Village in Armenia's Tavush Province, as the new kindergarten opened its doors to the community.

March 18 was a truly special day for nearly all 600 residents of Chinchin Village in Armenia’s Tavush Province, as it marked the official opening of the town’s newly renovated kindergarten and secondary vocational school. The improvements were made as part of FAR’s Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program.

The kindergarten’s 60-year-old building was previously in such poor condition that some parents stopped bringing their children to school because they felt the structure wasn’t safe or clean enough.

“This great gift made to our kindergarten will create positive changes in our lives,” said Principal Lilit Arakelyan with great joy. “We already have 20 kids attending school instead of the 14 we had prior to the renovation.”

The same day Chinchin Kindergarten opened its new doors, the Secondary School of Chinchin Village revealed its renovated and fully furnished craft classroom for sewing and woodworking vocational classes. The secondary school caters to children between the ages of six and 18. It’s gym and recreational areas were also recently renovated through BCPP.

Initiated in 2013 and made possible by the Mardigian Family Foundation, BCPP focuses on educational, health, social and economic development in the seven villages of Tavush, as well as in Tavush’s capital of Berd City. The five-year project focuses greatly on the investment in the children of region, empowering them with the tools they need to create better futures for themselves and their communities. Improving education and its accessibility is a key component of the project.

“We feel proud to be a helping hand for the border villages that are vital for Armenia. Chinchin Kindergarten is another one of our achievements in the region, in addition to five newly built outdoor sports grounds and two refurbished gymnasiums to benefit students of the entire region,” FAR’s Berd Office Manager Lusine Grigoryan said during the opening ceremony.

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[VOAH]: Longtime VOAH Supporter Sahan Arzruni Pays a Visit to Armenia

  • April 29, 2015 12:33 pm

Musician, renowned philanthropist and FAR supporter Sahan Arzruni, recently decided it was time for him to take another trip to Armenia, during which he performed for his fans.

After several years since his last visit, musician, renowned philanthropist and FAR supporter Sahan Arzruni, recently decided it was time for him to take another trip to Armenia. In addition to going to several concerts in Yerevan, he also put Vanadzor on his itinerary.

As a longtime supporter of Vanadzor Old Age Home (VOAH), Mr. Arzruni last year initiated a successful fundraising campaign to rehabilitate the road leading to the VOAH building. FAR’s Executive Director last year also met with the Vanadzor Mayor Samvel Darbinyan to discuss the timing and approach to the re-construction of the road, which is filled with potholes and always causes trouble for those making deliveries.

This trip, Mr. Arzruni decided to spend a day visiting with its 45 residents. He received a warm welcome. He was also joined by VOAH Director Manushak Ohanyan and FAR Country Director Bagrat Sargsyan to discuss the current issues and challenges facing VOAH. Welcome to Hayastan once again, Sahan Arzruni!

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[GTECH]: GTech Makes it Possible for one Engineer to Reach his Goal

  • April 27, 2015 12:42 pm

For years, Vazgen Gyoletsyan worked as an engineer until one day he decided to take a risk and follow his dream. “As far back as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a programmer. But I thought that it would never happen. Then I heard about Gyumri Information Technology Center (GTech) and realized that it was what I needed. GTech’s professional staff and instructors helped me to succeed during my two years of study at the Center,” Vazgen said. “Now, looking back, I can say with certainty that I made the right decision and it’s changed my life in many ways.”

Vazgen is one of GTech’s first graduates. He studied in the Hardware Design Department and graduated in 2007. During the first year of his studies Vazgen was hired by Instigate Design‘s Gyumri branch as a junior hardware programmer.

He didn’t stop trying to excel. He went to India to take a three-month Printed Circuit Boards design training course at the Mohali Center for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) in Mohali. Upon his return to Armenia, he started working at Social Objects, a Yerevan-based Software Company as a C++ and iOS developer. Today he is a senior software developer at Synopsys Armenia. He is also now a trainer at GTech.

“GTech made it possible for me to accomplish my dreams. I am really happy for the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with the students from Gyumri. I really see their motivation and desire to learn,” said Vazgen.

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I Remember, I Demand, from the Fund for Armenian Relief

  • April 24, 2015 4:04 am

Armenian Genocide memorial day, April 24, 2011, Tsitsernakaberd

My Dearest Friend of FAR,

The year 2015 affects each and every Armenian. This is a time when we are inherently forced to look back and think about – really think about – what happened to us and, if we push beyond that, at what could have happened to us a century ago. Armenians could have been exterminated, our culture and heritage wiped from the earth save for a mention in a chapter of some esoteric history books. We, as a people, would be extinct. That was the intent of the miserable perpetrators of this heinous crime, one we can now define with a single, cutting word: genocide. Had the architects of the genocide succeeded the world would have been a very different place to live in, and we the Armenian people would have been deprived of our right to enrich civilization with both our collective and individual contributions.

On the eve of this centennial it is more than obvious that they failed. They failed to destroy our pride, our loyalty to our community, our history, our culture, our fate, and our unbreakable determination to never stop fighting for a better life. In 2015, we continue to tell the world not only that we are here, but that we are proud to be Armenians who have the boundless desire to make our homes, our communities, our nation and the world a better place – a place where we would like to believe that what happened in 1915 would be unthinkable today and in the future.

Every day for us at Fund for Armenian Relief – especially every day of 2015 – is sacred. We are blessed to carry out the professional purpose of empowering our fellow Armenians who have the talent and desire to join us in our mission and also provide opportunity to the thousands of Armenians who hold the potential to contribute to society but who are burdened by unfortunate circumstances and obstacles in their quest to move ahead. And we are able to do that because of your vision, generosity and compassion.

While small and modest, we at FAR are proud to be members of that most vibrant and vocal force that will send a message to the world on April 24th that the spirit of our people will never be extinguished. The deplorable perpetrators of the first genocide of the 20th century failed miserably in their equally deplorable quest because we are here today, and we will stand strong in our truth and our vision because we are Armenians. So, in a way this makes 2015 is a year of celebration of our fortitude.

Thank you,

Garnik Nanagoulian
FAR Executive Director

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[FAR Children’s Center]: Supporters of Children’s Center Renovations Witness Thriving Art Therapy Program

  • April 21, 2015 10:25 am

Kenar (left) and Armen (right) joined in to dance the Armenian Qochari during the Easter celebration.

When Kenar and Armen Haratunian of Manhasset, New York, visited the FAR Children’s Center in Yerevan last week they brought with them bags of games and supplies for craft and art projects. “We loved how bright and uplifting the art therapy rooms were, and it was great to see them full of smiling kids and busy activity. We also loved seeing them enthusiastically opening and using the crafts we brought with us. We went back a few times and we loved having more time to play with them,” Armen said.

Kenar, 13, and Armen, 15, have a personal connection to the Center. Together with their parents Stephen and Arda, they renovated the Center’s three art therapy rooms last year in loving memory of their great aunt and uncle Grace and Antranig Krikorian, both of whom had a special fondness for Armenia’s youth.

As the only place in Armenia to offer rehabilitation and counseling to vulnerable and troubled children, the Center’s art therapy program is another crucial piece in the Center’s mission. The program is specifically instrumental in helping these children to cope, heal and open up. It allows children to also find joy in creative self-expression in both one-on-one and group settings. Children can choose their activities from ceramics to painting to jewelry or doll making during the sessions.

Kenar and Armen were excited to see in person how the program has been impacted by the improved space. They immediately forged connections with the Center’s remarkable children and excellent staff during their visits. They played with the kids and enjoyed lunches with them in the cafeteria, and also attended a special performance by the children on Monday after Easter, which was prepared for the FAR Children’s Center Circle of Friends.

“Learning a little about why some of the kids are there was a bit sad but we could see firsthand that all of them love the Children’s Center and that they felt happy and safe there,” said Kenar. “We could also tell that the social workers and therapists love what they do, and we really appreciated being welcomed into their daily routines.”

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[GTech]: GTech Welcomes Hagop (Jack) Antounian to its Board of Directors

  • April 20, 2015 9:09 am

Gyumri Information Technology Center’s (GTech) and its for-profit arm GTech Solutions, LLC (GTS), are pleased to welcome Mr. Hagop (Jack) Antounian of Boston, Massachusetts, to its Board of Directors. As the Executive Director of Quality and Supply Chain at Ultra Electronics Ocean Systems, Mr. Antounian is a Senior Operations Leader, experienced in manufacturing excellence, new product introductions, and global supply chain management and development for a wide range of complex products and technologies.

Mr. Antounian also serves as President of the Armenian Business Network, a non-profit organization, which he founded in November 2010. ABN is focused on career advancement and business development for Armenians and Armenian businesses through ABN’s vast network and wide range of services. ABN has grown to over 8,000 members from around the world and continues to enjoy positive expansion.

“I’m certain Jack, with his vast experience in platform operational technologies, logistics, and computer engineering, will be an invaluable asset as a GTech board member. With his connections to the Armenian American business community, and as the founder of ABN in Boston, he has already introduced Amalya Yeghoyan, GTech’s Executive Director, to connections that have been very fruitful,” said GTech Board Member Dennis Tarzian.

Mr. Antounian joins the GTech Board at a pivotal time for the organization, as it’s positioning GTS, to compete in the world IT market. GTS is where the most talented GTech graduates, under the leadership of more senior IT experts, support clients in the U.S., Europe, Russia and Armenia, in various software development projects. GTS is gradually growing, and its profits go toward supporting GTech, thus expanding the opportunities for more talented youth in the region to have good positions that pay a decent salary for them so they are able to support their families rather than look for opportunities on foreign soil.

“I am happy to be part of this noble venture, and will use my experience, qualifications and networks to introduce the best-practices of the industry to GTech and GTS, as well as support GTS’s strategic and business development opportunities,” Mr. Antounian said.

Since its inception in 2005, GTech has been providing opportunities for young Armenians with the promise of an education in the cutting edge IT field and broader skills development, while subsequently contributing to the growth of the region and the country. It has become one of the leading educational institutions to provide IT training in Armenia. For more information about GTech and GTS, go to www.gtechtechnologies.com.

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