$5,330 raised. 333 lives touched. Another Ayo!’ project is complete!

Backpacks for Berd was launched on International Children’s Day and was completed on September 1st. In the course of these three months Ayo!, together with its dedicated volunteers and partners, has worked hard to touch the lives of the 333 first graders living in the rural Berd Region and 16 surrounding communities by raising money to buy them new school supplies. Each of these students has been able to start the school year with a durable backpack filled with notebooks, pens, pencils, rulers, erasers, colored paper, drawing pads, and watercolors brushes, etc.

Together with our volunteers we worked as servers in a number of restaurants and we donated our tips to this project. In just a short time we mastered waitressing,” said Ayo!’s Community Director Helena Melkonyan with a chuckle, adding that on the second day they received 60,750 AMD ($127) in tips—a record.

Before the project’s launch, Ayo! met with all of the first graders to ask what kind of backpacks they would like to have. The kids then vigorously talked about the color, style, and size of their desired bags. “However, we saw the skepticism in their eyes. Three months later, when we returned to those communities with colorful and beautiful bags, the kids were literally jumping for joy,” said Helena.

Backpacks for Berd was dedicated to providing those in need of school supplies with the tools necessary to be successful in the classroom, as many families in Berd cannot afford the most basic school supplies for their children. This lack of supplies can impact learning as those living in poverty–the majority in Berd–usually start the school year at a disadvantage without crucial school supplies that would enable them to fully participate in classroom activities.

Thank you so much to everyone who supported this project.