Roughly 460 orphans and children of single-mothers living in six regions of Armenia and Javakhk recently received their financial stipends for spring 2018 through the Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP).

For many of these families, CASP is the crucial support they need to overcome some of their social and financial hardships and the help through which their children’s lives can be improved.
“With this stipend, I was able to buy the firewood we needed to heat our house last year. I spent the rest on the children’s needs, like school supplies, warm clothes, and food. It’s hard to raise three daughters without a consistent income,” said Meri Shahzadyan, 31, from Khndzoresk whose husband, Rustam, died in a car accident in 2011.

Her three daughters, Shahane, 10, Nvard, 8, and Elen, 7, were accepted into the CASP program three years ago. They will receive their annual financial support from an American family until they turn 18. Currently, they live with their grandparents; all six of them barely survive on state benefits and stipends, which amount to roughly $250 a month.

Just before CASP recipients received their spring stipends at his church, Father Rafayel Khachikyan, pastor of the community of Meghri, encouraged beneficiaries to give back to their communities and schools. “You receive this support from women who even don’t know you. Some of them are not even Armenian, however they have embarked on a journey to help Armenians and to try and eradicate child poverty in these regions. Moreover, by their example, these women show the goodwill and love of our Lord,” he said, referring to the Women’s Guild of the Central Council, the group that manages CASP.

Distributions were followed by beneficiary home visits made by FAR staff members to better understand families’ needs and concerns, and how this particular support helps them to overcome certain difficulties.

The Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP) is a FAR project sponsored by the Women’s Guild Central Council of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern).