[VOAH]: Honey for VOAH.

By Gayane Gevorgyan

For quite awhile, all of us at Vanadzor Old Age Home (VOAH) have been discussing the idea of using small development projects to help us make the home more self-sustaining. Recently, we received assistance from our friends at the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), with whom we have cooperated on different projects in recent years. Within the framework of UMCOR’s project “Fighting Hunger Through Sustainable Livelihood Development,” we developed a three-year business plan for VOAH. Through UMCOR, VOAH was given five beehives and the materials to care for them. Rafik Tjantjapanyan, a well-known beekeeper from Ashtarak, also came to give a tutorial to residents. Within the next two years, we at VOAH hope to have 15 to 20 beehives, which will fully meet our demand for honey.

Our “new economy”
Rafik (left) and the beekeeper

Master Rafik (left) and young beekeeper Robert, photo by Gayane GovorgyanCredit: Gayane Gevorgyan

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[VOAH]: Profile – Margarita Hovsepyan.

By Veronika Mkrtchyan

Our visit to Vanadzor Old Age Home (VOAH) with FAR scholarship students delighted and inspired residents. While there, a vivacious woman named Grandma Maro immediately instructed us as we did volunteer work around the premises. I was greatly surprised by the youthful spirit of this 76-year-old. Later, when the two of us had a chance to talk, she told me that the secret of staying young comes from deep within a person’s soul.

Margarita Hovsepyan, or “Grandma Maro,” has been living in VOAH for the past seven years. She does not remember her past with bitterness. Instead, she lives in the present. In the 1950s, her parents, along with her eight sisters and brothers left Kirovabad, Azerbaijan, and settled in Vanadzor. In 1967, she married but never had children. Yet, this woman who has so much kindness in her heart has channeled all of her tenderness and care to the children and grandchildren of her sisters and brothers. Most of them have grown up and for various reasons have left for foreign countries. “What can I do?” she said. “These are the times. People can hardly meet their own needs and many do not have resources or the financial means to support their relatives. My only dearest and closest relative was my deceased husband, who I miss so much.”

It is at least a comfort to know that that Grandma Maro is safely supported at VOAH. Here all residents are surrounded with warmth and care from employees and visitors, even if not from their own children.

Grandma Maro with FAR Scholarship Students

Credit: FAR Staff

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[VOAH]: Spring at Vanadzor Old Age Home.

By Gayane Gevorgyan

Finally, spring has come to Vanadzor Old Age Home (VOAH).  Until recently, all we saw each day was snow or rain and the air was so cold. After a long winter, nature has started to breath again and so can we. We started the spring by cleaning up the grounds. All VOAH employees as well as our grandfathers and grandmothers eagerly participated in the cleaning and tree planting. For the second year in a row, the NGO Armenia Tree Project (ATP) provided trees to VOAH. This time, ATP monitor Navasard Dadyan gave us 20 fruit trees, including nut trees, apple trees and pear trees, which we planted in one of the nearby lots. 

We will water and care for them and in several years we will hopefully taste their fruit. Thank you so much to Director Areg Maghakyan and everyone else at ATP. 

Tree Planting at Vanadzor Old Age Home

Credit: Gayane Gevorgyan

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[VOAH]: Pampered for a Day.

By Gayane Gevorgyan

For years, members of the community have generously volunteered their time at Vanadzor Old Age Home (VOAH). Recently, stylists Kristine and Lena from Diana Beauty Salon spent the day here pampering some of the residents. 

Thanks to the salon’s generous Director Anahit Baghdasaryan, staff members have visited VOAH in the past to wash, cut and style the residents’ hair on holidays and other special occasions. Last week’s visit truly brightened everyone’s day and lifted spirits. We look forward to next time. 

Lusvard and Hasmik Grandmothers with Diana Beauty Salon Stylists

Beauty Salon stylists cut and style the
Vanadzor Old Age Home Residents’ hair 

Credit: Gayane Gevorgyan

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[VOAH]

Vanadzor Old Age Home building in spring

Credit: Felix Arustamyan

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[VOAH]: AmeriCares Representatives Visit VOAH.

By Gayane Gevorgyan
 
On March 25, AmeriCares’ Eurasian Partnerships Deputy Director Hanna Taylor accompanied FAR Armenia Branch Deputy Director Margaret Piliposyan and FAR Health Programs Coordinator Hambartsum Simonyan on a visit to FAR’s Vanadzor Old Age Home (VOAH). The purpose of the visit was to get better acquainted with VOAH’s activities and see how the organization could better provide support to residents. 
 
With VOAH Director Tigran Kocharyan, the guests discussed a great number of issues. Hanna was interested in the needs of the residents and expressed readiness to help them within the framework of their organization’s capacities by providing hygienic supplies and other necessary goods.
 
The guests were entertained by residents Roza Badalyan and Varsik Aslanyan, who presented them with gifts and written impressions of life at VOAH.

Tigran Kocharyan, Hanna Taylor, Hambartsum Simonyan &
Margarit Piliposyan (from left to right)

Discussions with Tigran Kocharyan at VOAH

The Guests Meet with Grandma Varsik 

The Guests Meet with Grandma Rosa

Credit: Gayane Gevorgyan

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[VOAH]: Memories of a Couple’s Endless Devotion.

By Gayane Gevorgyan

They entered Vanadzor Old Age Home (VOAH) hand in hand, just as they had lived all their lives. By God’s will they had one son, to whom they gave an education. He eventually married and had a daughter. But after suffering from serious health problems, he and his family were forced to sell their apartment and leave Vanadzor for Moscow, where he could access proper medical treatment. “Grandpa” Vardges, 94,  and “Grandma” Mariam, 89,   suddenly found themselves left alone to endure the hardships of life. Moving into VOAH was their solution and until recently, they were its oldest residents.

A World War II veteran, Grandpa Vardges returned from the war injured, but he had always managed to hold decent employment. Obeying the wish of her husband, Grandma Mariam never worked. She managed the home, raising their son and then their grandchildren. For two years, the elderly couple awaited their son’s visit from Moscow. When at last their son and granddaughter came back to Vanadzor, Grandpa Vardges died the following day. As always, Grandma Mariam followed her husband, passing a week later. They departed this earth hand in hand, leaving sweet memories in our hearts about love, faithfulness and eternal devotion. All of us will miss them dearly.

Currently, the Vanadzor Old Age Home offers shelter and safe haven to 55 elderly Armenians. Nearly 30 employees look after them with care and love.

Grandpa Vardges  and Grandma Mariam, hand in hand

Credit: Gayane Gevorgyan

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