NORK, ARAPKIR AND MALATYA CHILDREN’S CENTERS

In February 1993, AGBU and the Holy See of Etchmiadzin joined forces to establish three Children's Centers in Yerevan. These Centers provide art, computer, crafts, dance, gymnastics, history, language and music programs to local children after school hours and during the summer. All three Centers also house a chapel and host weekly church services and Bible studies. About 4,000 students, aged 4-21, are enrolled in the Children's Centers, which are overseen by an administrative staff of over 300. Presently, there are eight Children’s Centers operating in Armenia. In 2007, 13-year-old Marian Marukyan from the Nork Center was awarded the top prize during a ceremony at the United Nations in New York City for the International Children's Art Competition. Over the years, the AGBU Children's Centers Performing Arts Troupes have traveled to the US, Canada, Russia, Georgia, Uruguay, Brazil, Poland, Turkey, Lebanon and Malta to present their talents at various cultural events attracting tens of thousands of attendees. Students of the AGBU Children’s Centers actively and successfully participate in various festivals, exhibitions, award ceremonies, cultural and sport events. Among the notable events during 2011-12 were the junior Eurovision contest held in Yerevan, “Pomegranate Seed” national theatrical festival, applied arts exhibition in Moscow, the Delphi international games and the “World Children Games” held in Turkey. In 2014, students of the Nork Children’s Center’s Gevork Ginosyan Circus Troop joined Betty to represent Armenia at the Junior Eurovision Contest in Malta and came home with the third prize. On Yerevan’s 2796th birthday the staff of the Nork Children’s Center was awarded the Yerevan Gold Medal by the Mayor Taron Margaryan for the various cultural events and tireless contributions.

SYRIAN-ARMENIANS

The Civil war in Syria has forced tens of thousands of people to flee their country. Like Syrian civilians, thousands of Syrian-Armenians have moved to other countries, including Armenia and Artsakh. Over the past three years AGBU has carried out large scale assistance projects for Syrian-Armenians in Armenia providing medicine and warm clothes, food and housing. AGBU also continues its assistance to the Syrian-Armenian Relief Coordination Center NGO, established by the RA Diaspora Ministry, by providing it with space and covering all overheads. In October 2013, the RA Diaspora Ministry, the RA Education and Science Ministry, the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation jointly launched a tuition-assistance program for Syrian-Armenians studying in Armenia. About 400 Syrian-Armenian students received tuition assistance for 2013-2014 academic year. In 2014 AGBU announced its plans to continue covering tuition fees for Syrian-Armenian students during the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 academic years. In 2013 through a generous donation from the Cherchian Family Foundation, AGBU initiated an important agricultural project for Syrian Armenian farmers who settled in Kashatagh, Artsakh. They received new agricultural equipment: 3 tractors, seeders, disks, fertilizer distributors and pesticide sprinklers. Other assistance projects, including cultural events, concerts and exhibitions have been organized as part of the Syrian Armenian assistance program by AGBU in Armenia.

 

SENIOR DINING CENTERS

 

Since Armenia's independence, AGBU has continued to sponsor the Senior Dining Centers, which provide hot meals to more than 600 pensioners and orphans on a daily basis. Today, AGBU sponsors three such Centers located at the Arapkir, Malatya and Nork Children’s Centers in Yerevan. Recipients often take home portions of their ample meals to share with friends and families. Moreover, volunteers deliver meals to those unable to attend the Center themselves.

HYE GEEN PREGNANT WOMEN’S CENTERS

 

With the aim to improve the health of pregnant women and reduce the alarming rates of infant mortality and complicated pregnancies in Armenia, the Pregnant Women's Center in Gyumri opened its doors in June 2002 thanks to Southern California’s AGBU Hye Geen. The success of the program resulted in opening a second Center in Vanadzor, Armenia in 2006. In 2009 a similar center was established in Talin. The centers provide expectant mothers with individual counseling, vitamins, and advice on pre-natal care. The women also have an opportunity to prepare nutritious meals together, which help foster strong friendly bonds among each other. To date these centers have served the needs of more than 1530 pregnant women. In the past years, the AGBU Southern California “Hye Geen” committee, as well as other benefactors, have also distributed clothes to disadvantaged families and children. The program is implemented jointly by the Pregnant Women’s Centers, Armenian Apostolic Church and the RA Ministry of Social Welfare.

 
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