“If I ever meet my sponsor, I will perform a concert for him,” said nine-year-old Emma Petrosyan as she showed off the flute and piano her mother bought for her two years ago with the help of her CASP stipend. “He has become a caring father figure to me.”

Emma’s mother, 44-year-old Janetta, had been saving up money for years to buy a piano for her daughter, however the amount she had wasn’t enough. Emma, who studies at the Gyumri N4 Music School, had previously been unable to practice piano outside of school. “She had been dreaming about a piano. Wherever we would go, if she saw a piano, she would point it out to me. Your financial support has really helped,” said Janetta.

Now in 4th grade, Emma also plays the flute and has performed numerous concerts.

Emma has received an annual stipend from FAR’s Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP) since 2016, after her father Artur died of a brain hemorrhage.

Nearly 539 children who, like Emma, are either being raised by single mothers or who are orphans, receive CASP stipends until they turn 18. Last month, 119 from Shirak Province, in addition to 420 children from Syunik and Tavush provinces and Javakhk, received their spring stipends, which help their families to cover the cost of basic needs, like food, clothing, and heat, as well as additional expenses like extracurricular activities or school supplies.

With a monthly income of just USD 100, Janetta tries her best to spend the CASP stipend wisely. Janetta worked as a cleaner for ten years before Emma was born. After Artur died she tried some small business endeavors—making and selling her own sour cream and yogurt, styling hair, etc.—yet none of them ended up being sustainable. She pays great attention to what Emma eats, always searching for healthy options. “I will direct much of this spring support to healthy food options,” she said.