How one community organization helps transform the lives of the most disadvantaged and marginalized children in the small town of Metsamor.
In Armenia, where one third of the country’s children live in poverty and vulnerable conditions, working with and supporting the youngest of the society is more than simply important – it is vital. Especially impactful are services and opportunities that engage children as direct participants in their communities and help them grow into active and successful citizens. Such support is particularly necessary in under-served regional communities of Armenia, where children are most likely to be poor, neglected and marginalized.
Family and Community NGO is a unique organization in Metsamor, Armavir, that provides a wide array of services to children and families in difficult situations. In a small town with an overall population of 10300, the organization serves 110 families and 130 children every year. A joint program of the Tufenkian Foundation, Armenian Apostolic Church – Armavir Prelacy, WCC Armenia Round Table Foundation, UMCOR and PH International, the NGO is one of our most successful initiatives in Armenia.
By creating opportunities for the children of Metsamor to learn and grow, socialize with their peers, develop life skills, receive quality education and participate in their community, the organization helps children break from the vicious cycle of poverty and segregation. Many of the children served by the NGO remain engaged with its clubs and initiatives for years, and leave the organization as independent, well-rounded and active individuals ready to build their lives on their own.
Gayane and Gohar are two young bright women, former beneficiaries of the Family and Community NGO, who came to the organization more than a decade ago, as children from highly disadvantaged families. On the occasion of June 1, the International Children’s Day, Gayane and Gohar describe their journeys with the Family and Community NGO in personal letters aimed at highlighting the importance of community services and support for all children in Armenia.
Both Gohar and Gayane were raised by single mothers and grew up in difficult social-economic situations. Now, due to the services and opportunities provided by the Family and Community NGO, as well as their hard work and commitment, Gayane has already found employment as a hair stylist and Gohar is about to graduate from the Yerevan State University with high honors.
What is Kashatagh? Formerly known as Lachin, it is Artsakh's largest region, the vital land-bridge that connects Artsakh to Armenia, making them effectively one. After 70 years of Azerbaijani rule, this historically Armenian province was liberated in the early nineties. Today, the region is being actively resettled and offers new life to Armenian families.read More
Papag Stepanyan, together with his family of five, lives in the Van village of Southern Kashatagh, where he resettled in 1998. All this time, the family has lived in very poor housing conditions. This is about to change.read More
Meet Tatevik Sargsyan, Vahe Azizyan and Ararat Sahakyan – 3 young specialists from Armenia who are currently in Artsakh with the mission to explore new development prospects for the local bee-keeping, honey-production and related spheres.read More
A deep connection to the land, a strong sense of community and simplicity of living – this is what life in these villages is all about. We spent the past few days in some of the most remote villages of Artsakh, talking to people and hearing their stories. These villages are where the Armenian world starts, it is where Armenian life starts, and we think it is important for each of us to learn about the people who live here. Very soon, we will share with you the stories we have been fortunate to collect here. But for now, enjoy these images of village life in two of Artsakh’s liberated districts – Kashatagh and Hadrut.read More