Armine Maylian gets up early in the morning, gets dressed, and makes breakfast for her family before going to work at a grocery store in Kapan. This has been her daily routine for more than three years. A single mother, Armine shares a small house with her sons 7–year-old Tiran and 8-year-old Tigran, her mother Nona,and brother Taron, which she rents from relatives for about $50 a month.

Armine is industrious—working tirelessly from month to month to save money for the family, sharing expenses with Taron, an officer in the military who works to help supports Armine’s family. Nona is a pensioner who doesn’t work but provides “tremendous support” by taking care of Tiran and Tigran. Still, Armine is primarily worried about the uncertainty of her living situation. Taron will soon get married and the family will need to more to a bigger place, however, affording higher rent is not a possibility. The family budget consists of granny’s retirement pension, the state allowance Armine receives as a single mother and her monthly wages,all of which hardly amounts to $300 month and is not enough to cover rent, utilities (gas, electricity, water, firewood), and other living expenses for the family.

Armine used to live in the village of Yeghegis located in Vayots Dzor Province. She moved to Kapan, which is in Syunik Province, in 2013 in search of a job and a better education for her children. This is the fourth year that Tigran has received FAR’s support through the Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP). In 2016, Tiran was accepted into the program, which provides annual financial assistance through stipends until the children turn 18. While she and her family have gone through a lot of hardships, Armine says that CASP has definitely had a positive impact. Because of CASP, Armine doesn’t have to take out a loan to buy clothes and school supplies for her children. “It’s a lasting relief,” she said.

Tiran and Tigran are currently second and third graders at Kapan Secondary School. While they haven’t yet decided what to do when they grow up, they certainly look forward to their daily soccer club at school. “They both love math.We’ll see what they will become in the future. For now, I’ve decided to use the remainder of their CASP stipends to cover the costs of their soccer club since the boys like it so much and will enjoy playing during their summer vacation. The fee is a bit less than $20 a month per child, and I hope to get some kind of discount for having my two sons on the team,” said Armine.

Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP) is sponsored by the Women’s Guild Central Council of the Eastern Diocese.