The only one of its kind in the capital, the school is a haven for children from disadvantaged families

For Immediate Release ~ March 9, 2011

Yerevan, Armenia – In parallel with its water-infrastructure and other projects in Artsakh, Armenia Fund is implementing a host of development initiatives in Yerevan and throughout the regions of Armenia.

One such effort is the refurbishment of a one-of-a-kind nursery-kindergarten boarding school, located in Yerevan’s Shengavit district. Co-financed by the fund’s British affiliate and benefactors in Armenia, the project was launched in November 2010 and is slated for completion by September of this year.

Built in 1965, the school has long struggled in a state of disrepair, with conditions going from bad to worse in recent years. However, despite the physical deterioration and lack of operational resources, the facility has continued to educate and shelter parentless children and those who come from economically vulnerable families.

Currently the school has over 140 students between the ages of 2 and 7, of whom 70 are boarders. All students spend weekends with their families. In addition, once a month the school hosts an open house, when families can visit their children at the campus and spend the whole day with them.

The school consists of three buildings: 2 two-story structures which house the student sleeping quarters, playrooms, a medical clinic, and a therapist’s office; and a single-story structure that comprises the events hall and kitchen.Armenia Fund is renovating the entire facility, which has a total area of 1,600 square meters. Major components of the project include a complete overhaul of the school’s facade, the construction of a new lobby, and creation of additional space through the conversion of open balconies into glass-covered, heated rooms. Thanks to the expansion of useable space, the school will be able to accommodate up to 200 students.

Other improvements include the fencing and renovation of outdoor areas, which likewise will allow for optimal use of all available spaces. Finally, Armenia Fund is also planning to provide the school with new furniture.

“We’re overjoyed by the prospect of having a refurbished and well-equipped campus,” says Principal Lucine Matinyan. “Moreover, I’m glad to report that construction work is being carried out in such an organized manner that our school routine is never disrupted. The project proceeded as planned throughout the winter months, and the campus was never without sufficient heating.”

“We have to deal with so many difficulties in terms of resources,” Matinyan continues. “For instance, children’s bedding and clothes need to be replaced periodically, and we’re not in a position to purchase new supplies. Yet such issues pale in comparison to the terrible physical condition of the school in the past few decades. Of course our students also need adequate care and spiritual sustenance. In this respect, we greatly appreciate the regular visits of priests from the Ararat Diocese, who help tend to the spiritual education of our students.”

Commenting on the reconstruction project, Ara Vardanyan, executive director of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund, says, “Thanks to the support of our donors, we will have a state-of-the-art facility, a wonderful and nurturing environment where our children will continue to live and receive their education.”