By Margarit Piliposyan

In order to expand the coverage of its activities to the places most in need in Armenia, FAR has decided to stretch its helping hand toward one of the most remote and vulnerable regions of Armenia – the Shamshadin region of Tavush marz.

Situated in the northeastern part of Armenia, Tavush marz includes Ijevan, Tavush, Noyemberyan and Shamshadin. The region borders Gegharkunik and Kotayk marzes to the south; Lori marz and Georgia to the north; and Azerbaijan to the east. Berd, its major town, is located about 200 kilometers from Yerevan, and has a population of roughly 9,000 people. The town used to be a center for diamond cutting, woodworking and food production industries. Today, sadly, almost no industry exists there.

FAR’s work in Shamshadin first began two years ago with support from American donor John Thomas who generously provided gifts to more than 50 youth from single-parent families. Since the start of 2011, the following programs have been introduced:

  1. Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP) now provides financial assistance twice a year to 50 orphaned children and those without fathers. They receive $180 each year. The amount is a significant addition to their modest family budgets as the majority survive on pensions and public assistance
  2. The same beneficiary group periodically receives supplies like school stationery, clothing, footwear and hygiene packages from FAR. The suppliers of humanitarian aid are organizations like the United Armenian Fund, UMCOR, etc.
  3. Thanks to Megerian Carpets, in 2011 the only art and music school in Berd received a bulk of carpet weaving yarn. UMCOR also donated some stationary to the school.
  4. Support to Aigepar Kindergarten includes three nutritious and balanced meals for 20 kindergarten children, thanks to CASP and the Women’s Guild Central Council of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern).
  5. Two students from Berd pursue higher education at the State University of Economics. FAR’s Mathevosian Scholarship Program pay their tuition fees. One student of the Yerevan State Teachers’ Training University has just received the Daughter of Vartan – Anahid Chapter Scholarship, which will enable her to obtain a bachelor’s degree and return to Berd to teach at a high school.

Aygepar’s Kindergarten

Aygepar  KindergartenChildren learn weaving at an art school in Berd.

Art school in BerdChildren in the Tavush region received weaving materials as a gift.

Presents to Tavush childrenA gift for a child in Tavush.

Presents to Tavush childrenFAR Scholars from Tavush (left to right): Liana Terzikyan,
Daughter of Vartan-Anahid Chapter Scholarship recipient;
Avetik Nersisyan, Mathevosian Scholarship recipient;
and Tigran Tjughuryan, Mathevosian Scholarship recipient

FAR Scholars from Tavush, Liana Terzikyan, Daughter of Vartan - Anahid Chapter scholarship recipient (2011), Avetik Nersisyan, and Tigran Tjughuryan, Mathevosian scholars (left to right)Credit: Eduard Karapetyan