For Immediate Release ~ February 3, 2012
Contact: Sarkis Kotanjian ~ 818-243-6222
Yerevan, Armenia - With contributions made by the German-Armenian community to Phoneathon 2011, the Armenia Fund has launched an extensive renovation of the Gyumri Children's Home orphanage.
Built in 1924, the orphanage was used as a boarding kindergarten until 1972. Two additional wings were constructed in 1946 and 1993, respectively. The Armenia Fund will refurbish the two older buildings, which comprise a total area of 900 square meters. The project will include the renovation of the bedrooms, gym, cafeteria, kitchen, and restrooms as well as installation of air-conditioning and fire-protection systems.
Currently over 120 children with mental or physical disorders live and receive care at the facility. After they reach age 6, they are placed in various mainstream or specialized orphanages, among them the Kharberd special-needs orphanage and the Mary Izmirlian Orphanage in Yerevan. These subsequent placements are made based on assessments of each child's mental and physical health, specific care needs, and prospects of improvement. For instance, children with eyesight disorders are placed in Yerevan's No. 14 Boarding School, which specializes in the education and care of children with ocular diseases. As for children whose health improves considerably following appropriate medical treatment, some rejoin their families at the families' request.
"Conditions at the facility deteriorated day by day," said Ruzanna Avagyan, director of the Gyumri Children's Home orphanage. "The water and sewage pipes were corroded. As a result, the restrooms were frequently out of order, and the walls were gravely damaged because of water seepage. Furthermore, the air-conditioning system had long ceased to work, a fact that has made the care of children with various disorders all the more difficult."
Commenting on the upgrades currently implemented by the Armenia Fund, Avagyan stated, "When completed, the renovations will allow us to vastly improve our operations. We will also be able to provide the children with critically important physical therapy."
On his part, Gilbert Moumdjian, chairman of the Armenia Fund's German affiliate, reaffirmed the German-Armenian community's commitment to supporting development projects in the homeland. "Naturally we wish that all Armenian children can be healthy in body and mind," he said. "As for those children with various disorders, we must do our utmost to help ease their pain, to make their lives better and more meaningful."