[VOAH]: Artin and Aghavni Kalpakian Visit Vanadzor Old Age Home.

By Gayane Gevorgyan

Recently, the people of Vanadzor Old Age Home (VOAH) had a remarkable day when they received a visit from some honorable guests – Artin and Aghavni Kalpakian, relatives of our beloved benefactor Sirvart Karamanouk,* who visited VOAH from Argentina. FAR Country Director Bagrat Sargsyan accompanied them during their visit. The aim of their trip was to get closely acquainted with the lives of the residents, from the activities that make up their everyday routines, to their thoughts, concerns and feelings.

Mr. and Mrs. Kalpakian generously donated $1,000 to VOAH, an amount that will be used to cover important needs of the home.

* Within the framework of the Fund for Armenian Relief, the sponsorship of VOAH has been carried out by the Kevork and Sirvart Karamanuk Foundation. The foundation is also supportive of many active charitable programs in Armenia as well as educational institutions in Turkey.

VOAH Director Tigran Kocharyan with Artin Kalpakian
and FAR Country Director Bagrat Sargsyan

Tigran Kocharyan VOAH Director, Artin Kalpakian and Bagrat Sargsyan, FAR Country DirectorArtin Kalpakian and Bagrat Sargsyan

Artin Kalpakian and Bagrat SargsyanArtin and Aghavni Kalpakian at the entrance of VOAH

Artin and Aghavni Kalpakians at the entrance of VOAH buildingCredit: FAR staff

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[VOAH]: Cultural House Performs Concert.

By Gayane Gevorgyan

Members of Stepanavan’s Cultural House recently traveled to Vanadzor Old Age Home (VOAH) to spend a day with the elderly residents, which became a grand celebration. They prepared a program of dancing, singing and poetry. Armenian folk music and dances added to the atmosphere and warmed the residents’ hearts. Our elderly participated, as well. For example, artist Volodia cited an excerpt from Hamlet by Shakespeare while grandma Angin brilliantly performed an Armenian folk song, even though it was her first time holding a microphone.

In addition to the songs and dances, our guests also brought books, sweets and biscuits with them. Young performers from the Cultural House treated the grandmothers and grandfathers to dessert.

The day flew by and by the end everyone was sad to see them go. We will remember this day with fondness. We are grateful to the organizers of this benevolent event, particularly Sargis Gharakeshishyan, the mayor of Stepanavan, who organized it.

A visit from members of Stepanavan’s
Cultural House delighted VOAH residents

Even though it was her first time holding a mic,
grandma Angin brilliantly performed an Armenian folk song.
Credit: Gayane Gevorgyan

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[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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