For Immediate Release ~ May 4, 2011

Yerevan, Armenia – In addition to carrying out infrastructure-development projects, the Armenia Fund is implementing educational initiatives of various sizes in Armenia and Artsakh. Two such projects, sponsored by the fund’s Greek affiliate, were recently completed in Vanadzor, center of Armenia’s Lori Region.

With the first project, the Greek-Armenian community donated furniture and leisure-activity equipment to Vanadzor’s No. 30 Kindergarten, currently attended by 131 children. The project also included the renovation of the kindergarten playground, where a pavilion and play equipment such as slides and swings were installed.

The second project comprised the establishment of a computer classroom at the Vanadzor Orphanage. Currently the institution shelters 102 children and youths, many of whom have lost their parents while others come from socially vulnerable families. Sixty of the home’s residents attend public schools and 20 are students at colleges or universities.

Arshaluys Harutyunyan, director of the orphanage, says that learning computer skills will help the institution’s disadvantaged children to build self-confidence and acquire the knowledge they need to have a competitive edge when they eventually enter the labor market.

The computer lab was created by renovating an existing room and providing it with furniture and state-of-the art equipment including ten late-model computers, a combination printer/scanner/fax machine, educational DVDs, and a local network which in the future will allow access to the Internet. Moreover, the Instigate IT company has agreed to offer free computer classes on the site and train an instructor. “Although we attach a great deal of importance to infrastructure projects, we decided to initially focus our efforts on helping modernize primary-education institutions, thereby improving prospects for the emerging generation,” says Vatche Der-Garabedian, chairperson of the fund’s Greek affiliate. “Greek-Armenian donors believe that, with the establishment of the computer classroom, the students of the Vanadzor Orphanage will become as computer-literate as their peers. As for the children of Vanadzor’s No. 30 Kindergarten, we’re so very gratified that they’ll be able to take their first steps in a beautiful and safe learning environment.”

The computer classroom is the Armenia Fund’s second project to be implemented at the Vanadzor Orphanage. Last year the fund renovated the institution’s ten restrooms, with the financial support of the Armenia Fund U.S. Western Region.