On 28 September, the opening of newly renovated activity room by Armenian Red Cross Society (ARCS), tօօk place in Hatis 4th lane Engineering College dormitory in Abovyan city, Kotayk region. Dr. Anna Yeghiazaryan, ARCS Secretary General, Haykaram Mkhitaryan, RA MTAES Deputy Minister, Erikas Petrikas, Ambassador of Lithuanian Embassy in Armenia and Annemarie Kulmann, Attaché of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany attended the event.
Welcoming the guests and project beneficiaries, Dr. Anna Yeghiazaryan, ARCS Secretary General, said:
- “Armenian Red Cross Society has been working in the dormitories for decades, supporting lonely elderly and children refugees. This newly renovated room, which was opened today, will serve as a social space for the distribution of parcels, as a place for celebration of events, birthdays, as a comfortable room for conducting various courses for children. There are also facilities for conducting hygiene services, such as laundry, ironing. By this initiative we are trying to alleviate some of your, and support those who are in need, because humanity and compassion will save the world. Let me thank also the Embassies of Federal Republic of Germany and Lithuania, Austrian Red Cross for the financial support and MTAES for providing the space. Due to this support, we are able to accomplish our mission as an auxiliary to the government in the humanitarian field.
Haykaram Mkhitaryan, RA MTAES Deputy Minister, noted that the Ministry closely cooperates with ARCS:
“There are no small projects. The projects’ sizes are determined by their efficiency. Armenian Red Cross Society has proved the effectiveness of its activities, and we are always ready to assist this kind of humanitarian initiatives”.
Erikas Patrikas, Ambassador of Lithuanian Embassy, who, by the way, was could speak a little Armenian, mentioned:
- Partnership between Armenia and Lithuania has a long lasting history. We have much in common, as countries with a common past. Although Lithuania does not have as much amount as European countries have for humanitarian aid, however, we are ready to assist vulnerable groups as much as we capable. The Lithuanian embassy has been financing development projects recent three years, this year we have received 18 applications, but decided to support this particular project.
Annemarie Kulmann, Attaché of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, noted that she is also happy to see this comfortable and bright room:
- “Not much time has passed, less than 2 months, that we have signed the agreement, but everything is ready. When I was here last time, it was rundown and dusty here, and everything was renovated in a short period of time. This proves, that no matter how dark and difficult the life is, if there is a light and humanism in human being, everything around is brightened.
7-year-old Anushik performed at the event, who delighted the audience with her talent, though her young ages, he plays professional duduk, zurna and dhol.
In the frames of Armenian Red Cross Society "Psycho-social support for children and lonely elderly refugees" project the renovation of the space for providing services was designed, however, for the renovation works of the 40m2 area provided by RA Ministry of Territorial Administration and Extreme Situations (MTAES) additional funding was needed. The needed funds were raised due to the German Federation and Lithuanian Embassies in RA, in the frames of Small Grant Projects.
The Abovyan dormitory was included in the ARCS "Psycho-social support for children and lonely elderly refugees" project in 2015. The project aims to assist to the social inclusion and integration, home conditions improvement of the lonely elderly and children refugees living in dormitories.
The project has 2 components: Support to lonely elderly refugees and Support to children living in dormitories.
In the frames of the Support to lonely elderly refugees component volunteers visit beneficiary grandmothers and grandfathers (as they love to call them) once a week, help with household chores, organize social and cultural events. The elderly people receive food parcels every month and hygiene supplies quarterly. During winter months, the program also provides beneficiaries with partial refund of public utilities (electricity).
In the frames of the Support to the children living in dormitories component, the volunteers organize various trainings for beneficiary children in the "Smiles Club" room on daily basis. They help children to perform homework tasks, organize visits to cultural sites, and conduct film screenings and discussions about topics that they are interested in. In summer a camp is organized for the most needed children living in dormitories.
The program is currently funded by the Liechtenstein "Medicor" Foundation in cooperation with the Austrian Red Cross.
During the last 5 years there have been short-term disruptions of project implementation, but the volunteers, despite the absence of funds, continued their visits which is a dedication to volunteer work, to humanitarian values, and is a ratified proof of close ties set between younger and older generations during the years.