SOS Children moved into Armenia following the massive earthquake of 1988. After providing emergency relief we have remained there ever since, supporting local communities such as Idjevan.
Idjevan is the capital of Tavush Province and is home to 20,000 people. It is on the banks of the River Aghstev, about 140 km north-east of Yerevan. The area is mountainous, with river and woodland making the area a beautiful place to live.
Local income rates decreasing
The local economy is centred on wood manufacturing and wine. Until quite recently its primary income was from carpet making but there has been a dip in demand which has impacted on the city's output, in turn has reducing the incomes of local families.
Armenia as a whole is a poor country, with Tavush one of its own poorest regions. There are two issues for families in the region - unemployment and underemployment. Though a number do work for a living they cannot get enough work to live comfortably.
Over two thirds of the population of Armenia live in rural areas. They face issues such as flooding, crop scarcity and pollution. Water use needs to be improved so all industries can benefit in a given area. Many people from Tavush have been forced to move to find work and lack the social and family support they once had near their nuclear families.
Large families mean incomes are spread more thinly
Many families are large, meaning that what little income that comes in must go a long way. Younger children and families with single mothers are also at risk of problems associated with poverty. There has been a rise in the number of orphans in recent years, especially orphans who have been abandoned by their families for economic and social reasons.
SOS Children works with the Armenian government to support such families and children - the government is glad of our support as it cannot afford to meet their needs without outside help. In Idjevan we are based in the city centre, close to schools, nurseries and other facilities for younger people.
How we support children in Idjevan
Working with local authorities, SOS Children's Village help families take care of their children. Where children cannot be looked after by their families, we have SOS families to provide a loving home for them.
With families, we work with them to ensure their children go to school, eat well, and have access to the healthcare they need. We advise on parenting, and give guidance on how to improve their incomes where money is short. Finally, we give people guidance on how to get involved in their new communities where they are newcomers and need the social support of others.
Best start in life
Working with children who are unable to live with their own families, there are 14 SOS families in SOS Children's Village, Idjevan. Children in our care go to local schools and nurseries and play a part in their community, giving the best possible start in life given the cards they are dealt as youngsters.
SOS Children work with the local government to improve local schools in Tavush. We offer a range of activities to help teachers improve their skills. We also work into schools to help individual children who have extra educational needs.
Working with local partners, we deliver services to vulnerable families and children in Idjevan so that they have hope for the future. Today, you can help an orphaned child to receive all they need for a happy and healthy childhood by becoming a sponsor.