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FAR Develops Vocational Training Center for Armenia’s Children with Special Needs

On January 9, 2018, the Fund for Armenian Relief’s Board of Directors met at the Diocesan Center in New York to evaluate FAR’s operations and set plans for the current year and beyond. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate and FAR Board President, presided.

Five years ago FAR embarked on the ambitious Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP), aiming at self-sustainability for the people of the Berd Region in Tavush Province of Armenia. Under Board supervision a multi-layered, multi-year program to address problems in economic development, healthcare, children’s nutrition, education and labor force development was developed.

Assessing the results of the first stage of BCPP, the directors were glad to see major progress in advancing to the objectives set by the program. In addition to tangible accomplishments, the Board stressed as one of the most important results of FAR’s work in that borderline region the fact that people in the region are gradually regaining hope that changes are possible. Moreover, they are starting to make these changes themselves to have a better life.

The Board expressed its deep appreciation to the Mardigian Family for their visionary generosity and continued support, which would make it possible to extend the program for five more years.

The directors approved a new program of FAR for the next five years: the development of a Vocational Training Center for Armenia’s children with special needs, which was made possible thanks to a magnanimous grant for James and Marta Batmasian. As envisioned, the new center will become a state-of-the-art facility, to support older children in need from the entire country to get ready for independent life and to become contributing citizens of the country. It will give them vocational and life skills crucial to live dignified independent lives.

The suggested model and approach of this new FAR endeavor is in tune with today’s reform in Armenia’s education system, pursuing inclusion. In the meantime, with this project FAR would be able to create a model that expands the concept of inclusion from the classroom to the workplace.

Reviewing financial statements from 2017, the Board expressed satisfaction with the financial standing of the organization, and noted significant growth in its assets which will enable FAR to set more ambitious goals to meet the critical needs of the Armenia’s people.

The Board also reviewed progress made in “rebranding” FAR to increase its global visibility and broaden its donor base.

The Board members agreed to collectively visit Armenia in the fall of 2018 to evaluate progress in FAR’s mission of improving the quality of life for Armenia’s citizens.

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