SOS Children in Armenia
Overview of Armenia
Once dubbed the Soviet's 'silicon valley', Armenia's economy collapsed when its old markets disappeared. Poverty is widespread and annual inflation is high. Families with children under five years old comprise almost 60 per cent of the poor.
Our Work in Armenia
Following the devastating earthquake in Armenia in 1988, we constructed an SOS Children's Village for orphaned children in the town of Kotayk, just outside the area that had been destroyed and about 10 miles from the capital Yerevan. The first children were able to move into their new homes together with their SOS mothers in 1990.
As there were no pre-school facilities in the area, a provisional SOS Nursery was set up in one of the family houses in 1992. This was replaced by a purpose-built nursery in 1995. The same year, an SOS Youth Home was set up in Yerevan for the young people who had grown up in the Village. Here, young people begin on the path to independence, whilst receiving any advice or support they may need from the youth advisor. The Village has 12 family houses, the walls of which have been decorated with colourful paintings by the children.
Three Family Strengthening Programmes (FSPs) run in Armenia, offering support to vulnerable families in the community, to prevent child abandonment. This is done by ensuring that children have access to essential services (e.g. educational, nutritional, health support, leisure time activities) for their healthy development. In addition, families are given support to build their capacity to protect and care for their children. This involves training so that the parents can pursue income generating activities and support their families financially.
Armenia’s second SOS Children’s Village was recently opened in Idjevan, in the country’s north-east. There are 14 family homes for up to 91 orphaned, abandoned or neglected children. The village is close to the city centre, which offers schools, nurseries, a music school and a sports training centre. A Family Strengthening Programme in Idjevan already supports local families to stay together.
At present, SOS Children already support over 1,850 people in Armenia through one SOS Children’s Village, one SOS Youth Home, one SOS Nursery School, and three SOS Family Strengthening Programmes.
To find out more information about the work we do in Armenia see our page on Armenian Orphans.
Life in SOS Children's Villages Armenia: Little Adrine
Little Adrine spent her first few years growing up in an Armenian orphanage: she had heard of the SOS Children’s Village in Kotayk and had met a lot of the children who lived there: "All children from the children’s village knew a lot of things about nature and music and science. They were polite to adults and said 'good afternoon' and 'good bye' and 'please' and 'thank you'. The adults were also very nice to the children. No one yelled or hit a child. When I was told I was going to live at the village, it was the happiest moment in my life!"
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