FAR was recently featured in The Armenian Mirror-Spectator about a shipment of much-needed equipment and supplies on its way to hospitals, medical clinics and schools in the Tavush Region. The shipment is expected to arrive in the next two weeks thanks to the efforts of the Cambridge-based Knights of Vartan who partnered with FAR on the needs assessment and coordination for the distributions.
FAR is pleased to announce the start of the new “Galoust Galo Educational Fund”, which will exclusively support Gyumri’s Octet School of Music. The fund is made possible through the support of Ms. Edna Galo of New York.
It was in 2006 that Edna first heard about the Octet School where more than 200 young and talented musicians pursued their studies in classical and folk music despite sub-par housing conditions until massive renovations were completed in 2014 through the support of the Mardigian Family Foundation. A passionate lover of music, Edna soon became a dedicated supporter of Octet.
“I was brought up in a family where music was highly appreciated. My Father, Galoust Galo, studied the violin when we lived in Iran. So, when I first visited the Octet School back in 2014 encouraged by my dear friends Raffy and Shoghag Hovanessian, and witnessed [for] myself these amazing talents performing world class music in such desperate physical conditions something clicked in me and I decided that I will have to do something for the school,” she said.
That marked the beginning of a closer relationship between Edna and Octet, which culminated in the establishment of the Galoust Galo Educational Fund upon her return home to the U.S. The Fund will continuously provide support to the Octet Music School while contributing to Edna’s dream of giving Gyumri’s talented youth an opportunity to receive a proper education and shine in the world of music.
The Fund has already started supporting activities. It enabled the purchase of new chairs for the school’s outdoor performance area, as well as covered annual tuition for 50 talented Octet students from low-income families. In 2015, the Fund will cover the purchase of new musical instruments. It will also give students the opportunity to participate in a number of national musical contests and festivals, including the “Veratsnund” (Renaissance) International Music Festival, which is held in Gyumri every year.
“I am a happy man again. After more than 20 years of barely surviving our school is now entering a glorious stage. We have a new building thanks to the Mardigian Foundation, and now we are able to dream really high thanks to the generosity and kindness of Ms. Edna Galo. And of course, all these good things are happening to our kids because of care and support from the Fund for Armenian Relief,” said Principal of the Octet School Harout Asatryan.
With her new hairdryer, scissors and combs Qristine Petrosyan, 18, is equipped with the tools she needs to start her new job at one of Yerevan’s salons. A FAR Gulamerian Scholarship recipient, Qristine was able to successfully complete a 4-month training course in hair styling in order to land her first job in her chosen profession. FAR also recently presented her the styling tools she needed as a gift.
Qristine’s relationship with FAR goes back to her childhood when she would spend summers at the FAR Children’s Center. After her mother’s death, her father was unable to take care of Qristine and her sisters during their boarding school holidays so they were put into the care of the Center staff. Things at home grew progressively worse and she moved into Gavar Orphanage during her last three years of high school because her father could no longer care for his children. While there, she applied for the Gulamerian Scholarship, which specifically supports older orphans* through tuition coverage and stipends for university studies or vocational training.
“I earned high grades in school yet preferred to be a hairdresser as I like this profession very much. I knew that whatever I chose to study I would ultimately work as a stylist,” Qristine said after receiving her styling tools from FAR’s program staff. Slowly, and with a big smile on her face, she lovingly examined the items one by one.
“During my study at the training center everybody would talk about how hard it is to find a job in Yerevan as a stylist. Yet I knew somehow that I would find one quickly after graduation. It happened, as I made a list of all of the vacancies and started calling salons. My second call was successful,” she said, happily and with a hint of pride. “I don’t like boasting about myself and my abilities but when I work I do my very best. At the final presentation during our graduation ceremony at the training center my haircut was the most beautiful.”
All of us at FAR wish you the best of luck at your new job and in your future, Qristine. Determined and brave young ladies like you deserve the best in life.
*In Armenia, children are considered to be orphans once they move into an orphanage, even if their parents do not officially disown them.
GTech’s newly developed app offers a creative way to participate in social media: sharing goals and dreams. The soon to be released Legacy App will allow users to create their bucket lists with pictures, and then share them with others.
The GTech Solutions Team provided all technical support needed to program the new app for Boston-based Legacy App. LLC. The partnership stemmed from GTech Executive Director Amalya Yegohyan’s visit the U.S. last November. Nine of GTech’s mobile developers worked with Legacy’s Project Manager Narek Soghomonyan who traveled to Gyumri to collaborate more closely with the team. The Legacy App will soon be available via the iOs App Store.
Being that it’s International Women’s Day we at FAR thought we’d share a video with you about FAR’s Berd Office team, who have operated FAR’s Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP)* for the past two years.
The team’s job is not an easy one, but these seven strong women social workers do their best to help 260 families in the city of Berd and several surrounding villages in Armenia’s Tavush Province. All of these villages are at constant risk from cross-border shooting.
* Breaking the Cycle of Poverty, Developing Thriving Communities (BCPP) was founded by the Mardigian Family Foundation through the largest contribution ever made to FAR. BCPP Program is to comprehensively address social, economic, health, education and family issues in the Tavush Region.
Friends and former health ministers who personally knew Dr. Housepian, as well as Armenia’s current Health Minister Armen Muradyan, paid their respects to this great humanitarian and his immeasurable contribution to the lives of Armenians and development of their health care system.
“Dr. Housepian was a great humanitarian – one of the most humble but also one of the most generous of FAR’s supporters. It was thanks to his continuous attention that we managed to renovate and make this library such a modern and beautiful place,” said FAR Armenia Country Director Bagrat Sargsyan during the ceremony.
Thanks to the initiative and support of Dr. Housepian, FAR has been able to continuously contribute to the development of the library, ensuring its access to prestigious international medical magazines and electronic databases, and its ability to publish Armenian versions of medical abstracts and create its own website.