World Vision started operations in Armenia in 1988, providing emergency aid to people affected by the devastating earthquake on December 7. Within the first few months of the response, nearly US$3 million of medical supplies and relief was delivered to affected families. Following its initial relief response, World Vision began Child Sponsorship in Gyumri in October 2000 to address longer-term development issues and today supports more than 35 000 children through sponsorship in 14 Area Programmes.
World Vision works alongside individuals and families to promote the physical and transformation of 206 communities in 6 regions (marzes) of Armenia by empowering them to build a sustainable future for all people, especially children. Area Programmes (APs) operate out of Alaverdi, Aparan, Gavar, Gyumri, Kapan, Ijevan, Noyemberyan, Tchambarak, Amasia, Sisian, Stepanavan, Talin, Vardenis and Yerevan.
Armenia’s largest borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey remain closed for political reasons, stifling trade and economic development. Overcoming structural problems makes poverty reduction challenges more complicated. Moreover, winters in Armenia are long and severe with temperatures dropping to -30 °C. Most houses lack central heating and often families struggle to provide adequate warm clothing and shoes for their children.
The number of the poor in Armenia has reached 1.2 million people, marking a 25% increase over the past two years. Access to quality healthcare, particularly for mothers and children, is a key problem. Lack of job opportunities at home drives many breadwinners to search for work abroad and disillusioned youth from rural areas are easy prey for traffickers who promise a better life in the city or other country. Youth aging out of institutions are also among the most vulnerable. While education is becoming more inclusive in Armenia, thousands of children with disabilities still miss out on the opportunities that their peers enjoy.
Children Enjoying Good Health
Awareness around healthy and safe behaviours among both adults and children is a key focus of World Vision’s work in communities. World Vision supports mothers’ groups and active parents’ support groups so that members can share information and advice with their peers. An example is the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding where ideally mothers only give breast milk to their infants for the first six months of life.
Children Educated For Life
World Vision partners with 246 schools and 155 kindergartens, located in around 256 communities across the country.
Every year World Vision supports schools and kindergartens by establishing heating and water supply systems, renovating sanitary systems, changing windows, establishing computer classes, vocational training classrooms and improving accessibility of education institutions, etc.
World Vision also supports innovative teaching methods at schools and kindergartens through child focused learning methods.
World Vision assists in organising extracurricular activities by supporting schools to develop and engage children in handicraft, photo, chess, radio, dancing, sport and other developmental activities.
Children Experiencing the Love of God and Their Neighbours
In Armenia, where about 95% of the population is Orthodox Christian, World Vision is supporting the restitution and growth of spiritual values in communities through Christian education.
• Christian educational textbooks for children of different age groups and teacher manuals are distributed.
• Every summer World Vision provides vulnerable children with an opportunity to experience a friendly and joyful environment within Christian summer camps, where besides enjoying nutritious meals, recreational activities and games, children learn about the history of the Armenian Church and the origin of Christian values.
• World Vision also supports the creation and operation of Puppet Theatres and Youth Clubs that reach out to young people in an age- and culturally appropriate way.
Children Cared for, Protected and Participating
World Vision actively engages children in community meetings as they are open to new approaches and ideas and eager to turn them into action. Support is provided to students’ councils and parents’ councils with an aim to improve school management and encourage children’s participation in decision making.