Sunday, May 29, 2011

Armenian Adoption Adventure- Please sponsor healthy birth of Armenian infants

This is a great program, please send in your checks today. I will send out a request via personal e mail blasts this evening. Strong families are a strong Armenia.
This year marks the 96th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) wishes to stress that remembering the past and working toward the recognition of the genocide by the Turkish and American governments isn’t enough. Our ultimate goal is compensation through moral, financial, and land reparations. With this approach in mind, we believe that the birth of each and every Armenian child is a new step toward ensuring the growth and wellbeing of our nation.
The AYF is therefore announcing the launch of a modest effort on the 20th commemoration of the massacres of Baku, Sumgait, and Maragha—by sponsoring the birth of 20 children in Armenia in cooperation with the Armenian Relief Society’s (ARS) “Mother and Child” Healthcare and Birthing Center in Akhourian, Armenia. This center was established after the 1988 earthquake and cares for the mother and child from the day of inception until the child has received all his/her vaccinations. These services are provided free of charge.
Sponsoring each healthy birth in the center costs $150, but donations of any amount are appreciated.
As members of the Youth Organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (YOARF), we have said that remembrance of the genocide does not only equate with death; it also signifies the renewal of the will for struggle. This is an effort aimed at rebuilding our nation, and counteracting the various threats posed to Armenia by neighboring Turkey and Azerbaijan, such as illegal blockades, breaches of ceasefire, and constant threats of war.
Our call to the community is to join the Greater Boston AYF in providing enough donations to sponsor 20 births in the Akhourian ARS Mother and Child Healthcare and Birthing Center, thereby ensuring that there are many more safe and healthy births. Furthermore, members of the AYF will hand-deliver these collected donations to the birthing center this summer.
Donations should be made to “AYF Boston” and can be mailed or dropped off at 47 Nichols Ave., Watertown, MA 02472.
For more information, please or email

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Armenian Adoption Adventure- Children of Armenia Fund works to increase economy for struggling families

Helping to train the future of Armenia, the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) has established training centers to further promote strong families and economy for Armenian villages. Keeping families together, and creating jobs and employment so families are not seperated by economic hardships.

Yerevan - As an important addition to the economic development component of its Comprehensive Rural Development Program in the Republic of Armenia, the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) recently launched the Successful Business Project in the community of Arteni of Aragatsotn Marz and six neighboring communities of Armavir Marz.
The project enables about 50 start-ups and more established farmers and entrepreneurs to be trained in general business planning and practice and apply for loans and financial assistance. The goal of the project is to develop the economy of rural communities, fostering healthy competition and strengthening small and medium-sized enterprises.
Facilitated by COAF's program staff and participating partners, the intensive training program consists of three major components: business classes, counseling on elaboration of business plans and individualized mentoring for all trainees. Interactive by design, the project encourages maximum communication with and between participants, allowing for business idea generation and development as well as thoughtful analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of existing enterprises. For the first time, many rural business-owners are able to write formal business plans, create production plans and make critical financial calculations - important planning tools and necessary in order to apply for financing. These newly acquired skills are allowing local business leaders to assess the feasibility of their projects and act with longer-term vision in mind, considering expansion and future ventures in the years to come.
Rshtun Martirosyan, COAF Economic Development Program Manager, attaches great importance to the expected outcomes of this project which he believes will likely contribute to a culture shift within the village business community. "Currently, there is a big gap in the basics of business planning in rural Armenia, both in terms of knowledge and application. This manifests most noticeably through poor organization and management and business owners' inadequate or non-existent approaches to marketing. With the launch of the Successful Business Project, COAF will significantly contribute to the development of business knowledge among villagers in general, and marketing principles in particular, focusing on four marketing P's: product, price, place and promotion ", states Mr. Martirosyan.
In the words of Narine Tadevosyan, COAF Economist, "It is critical that rural entrepreneurs and farmers are guided by client-based strategy and principles and that they adjust their business approaches to the needs of their clients. Currently, the majority of our trainees have a resource-based mentality. They prefer to initiate those projects which do not require creativity and are easy to implement either due to the fact that the necessary resources are available, or that the implementers already know the traditional techniques and methodology. We strive to change that mentality and urge them to take into consideration the needs and wishes of their local clientele. Also, we encourage the villagers to avoid repetitions and think of innovative business ideas, focusing on their uniqueness and realizable features".
During Phase I of the project, which took place in the community of Arteni, a total of 23 business plans were presented and evaluated by a specialized committee, comprised of COAF leadership, independent business experts and representatives of lending institutions and banks. Some of the criteria for evaluation included the projects' viability in the market, their organization and management, financial feasibility, strategic potential, presenters' confidence, experience in business, clarity of business objectives, risk factors, etc. The business projects were wide-ranging, from agricultural production and processing, such as dried fruit, cheese, meat, pasta and pastry, to opening a hair salon, establishing a plant preservation station, furniture production unit, launching photo and video services, internet café including computer games, rental service for wedding party supplies, constructing a greenhouse and a grain collection service.
Despite it being the high season for agricultural activities in the villages, project participants demonstrated high levels of interest and the attendance of daily classes was impressive. Artak Darbinyan, an Arteni resident who majored in economics at the University back in the 1970s, describes the training program as "significantly important and helpful, full of modern approaches and new ways of thinking. The science of economics that we studied years ago", continues Mr. Darbinyan, "differs a lot from the one of today. The world is progressing rapidly, and so should we. In this connection, having participated in the training I gained a lot of helpful knowledge with respect to business planning, which I will definitely apply in the future".
Another success of the project has been the large number of women involved. In these culturally traditional communities, the willingness of women to contribute to the development of their local economies has largely been welcomed by the committee and the Village Mayors.
The second phase of the project includes training sessions in the communities of Karakert, Lernagog, Miasnikian, Shenik, Dalarik and Argina. Throughout 2011 and 2012, COAF's Economic Development Team will continue to monitor the project, provide counseling to all the trainees and report on the progress of selected projects. Support for the search for alternative sources of financing will be ongoing for those business projects which may not be funded by lending institutions at this stage.
The Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) is a non-profit organization, founded in 2000 in New York City that works to secure a brighter future for children in Armenia's impoverished rural villages through improved education, health care, community life and economic conditions. With the introduction of a unique clustering approach in 2004, COAF currently implements a Comprehensive Rural Development Program in ten villages in the Baghramian Region of Armavir marz and two villages in Aragatsotn marz. Over the past six years, more than 22,000 rural residents including 5,000 children from the communities of Argina, Arteni, Baghramian, Dalarik, Hushakert, Lernagog, Karakert, Miasnikian, Shenik and Yervandashat have benefited from COAF's continuous development projects and the improved schools, kindergartens, health clinics, sport complexes, community centers, capacity building trainings and workshops, and business opportunities that have resulted.

Armenian Adoptions numbers reduced

The number of children subjected to adoption in the care facilities in Armenia has been reduced. Lena Hayrapetyan, the head of the Department on Children’s Affairs of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, told a couple of days ago 3 children have been adopted, one has been taken back by parents and one grown up has left the Children’s Home. Thus, according to official data once 95, now 90 children are subjected to adoption.
According to informal records there are 237 children in Armenia who are subjected to adoption. L. Hayrapetyan said the figure was far from the reality and encouraged to believe only in their figures.
Official records say seventy of those children have problems with their health. 370 people are registered to adopt a child, 210 out of which are from abroad.

Armenian Adoption Adventure- Volunteers for the SOS-Children's Village of Armenia
Yerevan - Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC) volunteers have turned spring into a season full of community service, complementing the service they already bring as part of volunteering in Armenia.
Early this spring, AVC volunteers helped paint a classroom and hallways at the middle school in Nor Kyugh, a village just outside of Yerevan where students from the SOS-Children's village attend school. Volunteers and students from the school also helped clean the school grounds. This community service project helped beautify the areas where the children spend their time, both indoors and outdoors and provided an opportunity for volunteers to give back and learn about the SOS-Children's Village and their involvement in the community.
"I enjoyed learning about the SOS-Children's village by painting with fellow volunteers, students from the school, and staff from the SOS-Children's village," said Vicken Muradian (France), who took a three month break in between jobs in China and France to volunteer at the National Competitiveness Foundation. "This was a great way to compliment my main volunteer service."
In early April, volunteers helped clean the gardens at Our Lady of Armenia Boghossian Education Center in Gyumri (, an AVC volunteer placement site.
"I enjoyed helping the Center with some spring cleaning and preparation," said Dawn Huckelbridge (USA), who is volunteering in Armenia for two months, splitting her time between the Women's Resource Center ( and the International Center for Human Development ( "It was especially meaningful because we had an opportunity to learn about the Center and the work it does in Gyumri."
On April 27, volunteers joined the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets ( (also known as SunChild) for the second year in a row to help recycle the flowers laid at the Tsitsenakaberd Armenian Genocide memorial on April 24. The flower petals are used to make recycled paper which the Genocide Museum uses for invitations and cards.
"Recycling flowers was a meaningful experience for me," stated Meredith Derian-Toth (USA) an AVC volunteer sponsored by Birthright Armenia. "I was happy to help an organization that is forward thinking in their approach towards recycling. I hope this is a small step in the direction of a country-wide program." Derian-Toth is spending three months volunteering with Bars Media ( and the Seda Ghazaryan Memorial Foundation (
But that isn't all.
On May 10, during an excursion to Artsakh organized by Birthright Armenia (, a total of 16 AVC volunteers, alumni, and Birthright Armenia participants spent the day painting classrooms at the Daniel Ghazaryan Music School in Shushi. Volunteers painted three classrooms after which they challenged some of the students to a game of football, basketball and other games.

"Painting classrooms a warm orange color at the school in Shushi was very rewarding. It really meant a lot to me because I was able to do something tangible for the Artsakh community in a small way," stated volunteer Nathalie Demirjian (USA), who is volunteering in Armenia at Knyazyan & Partners (, a law firm specializing in intellectual property. "The children at this school are the future of Artsakh and Shushi, so making sure they have a warm learning environment is really important!"
Serving Armenia through volunteerism and enhancing a culture of service in Armenia is AVC's mission. Volunteers do this not only through their specific volunteer placement but also through organizing and participating in community service projects.
AVC was founded in 2000 to serve Armenia through volunteerism. Since its inception, over 300 volunteers have served in over 200 organizations throughout Armenia. For more information about AVC visit

Monday, May 9, 2011

Armenian Adoption Adventure- Computer room for Vandazor Orphanage
New York - Still less than two years old, the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund's Greek affiliate is already hard at work raising funds for much-needed initiatives in Armenia and Artsakh.
One hundred and thirty eager schoolchildren in Vanadzor, located in the center of Armenia's Lori Region, now have ample furniture and a revamped playground-replete with slides and swings-at their disposal.
While infrastructure-development remains a vital area of focus, the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund is determinedly undertaking educational initiatives throughout Armenia and Artsakh. Still another project implemented by the Greek affiliate in Vanadzor, the establishment of a computer classroom at the Vanadzor Orphanage will enable the institution's disadvantaged children to build self-confidence and acquire the necessary knowledge and computer skills to have a competitive edge when they eventually enter the labor market, explains Arshaluys Harutyunyan, director of the orphanage. Currently, the institution shelters 102 children and youths, many of whom have lost their parents while others come from socially vulnerable families. Sixty of the home's residents attend public schools and 20 are students at colleges or universities.
The computer lab was created by renovating an existing room and providing it with furniture and state-of-the art equipment, including ten late-model computers, a combination printer/scanner/fax machine, educational DVDs, and a local network which, in the future, will allow access to the Internet. Moreover, the Instigate IT company has agreed to offer free computer classes on the site and train an instructor.
"Although we attach a great deal of importance to infrastructure projects, we decided to initially focus our efforts on helping modernize primary-education institutions, thereby improving prospects for the emerging generation," says Vatche Der-Garabedian, chairperson of the Fund's Greek affiliate. "Greek-Armenian donors believe that, with the establishment of the computer classroom, the students of the Vanadzor Orphanage will become as computer-literate as their peers. As for the children of Vanadzor's No. 30 Kindergarten, we're so very gratified that they'll be able to take their first steps in a beautiful and safe learning environment."
The computer classroom is the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund's second project to be implemented at the Vanadzor Orphanage. Last year, the Fund renovated the institution's ten restrooms, with the financial support of the Armenia Fund U.S. Western Region.
Armenia Fund USA was founded in 1992, was one of the first of "Hayastan" All-Armenian Fund's 21 international affiliates and serves constituents in all states east of the Mississippi. As a non-profit, non-governmental, nonsectarian organization, the Fund represents all Armenian constituents, supporting strategic infrastructure projects in Armenia and Karabakh. The Fund has adopted a policy to go "Beyond Bricks and Mortar" to provide sustainability for projects it sponsors.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Armenian Adoption Adventure-Happy Mother's Day Armenian Style

Thank you Kourtney, Kim, Khloe and Robert Jr. for your support with Armenian Orphanages.

What does a family that reportedly made $95 million in 2010 get their matriarch for Mother's Day? Hint: it's something sweet.

The Kardashian family will be feasting on the traditional Armenian breakfast dish Beeshee on Sunday morning, but as of Saturday night, with just hours to spare, it was still undecided which socialite sister would be preparing the meal.

"We were just having a debate [over] who's going to make it. I think it's going to be Khloé," Kourntey Kardashian told PEOPLE at a City of Hope event in L.A. "We make it the night before. The dough has to rise, and then we all go to my mom's and eat it in the morning."

The family will dine in honor of Kris Jenner, a mother of six and stepmother of four, who has helped her family craft a reality show empire that started with Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

While Kourtney, a mother herself to 1-year-old Mason, says "it's fun to just be together" and is happy to "just see where the day takes us," her sister Khloé has definite plans for the family: supporting her husband, Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom, as he plays in the NBA playoffs.

"We have to watch the Lakers game at 12:30," Khloe said, interrupting her sister's open-ended plans for the day. "We are going to make history and win the next four [games,,20487920,00.html