With a festive opening ceremony held on August 6, the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund unveiled the two newly renovated buildings of the Gyumri Children’s Home orphanage, in Gyumri, Armenia. The renovations were made possible by the fund’s German affiliate, through donations by longtime fund benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Hamo and Tamar Gregorian of Germany, as well as grassroots contributions to the 2011 Pan-European Phoneathon.
The renovation project comprised a complete overhaul of the facility’s bedrooms, various therapy rooms, gym, cafeteria, kitchen, laundry room, and restrooms, as well as the installation of air-conditioning and fire-protection systems. In all, 900 square meters of space have been refurbished.
The opening ceremony was attended by several dignitaries and guests including Ara Vardanyan, executive director of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund; Artem Asatryan, Armenian minister of Labor and Social Affairs; Bishop Mikayel Ajapahyan, Primate of the Shirak See; Gilbert Momdjian, chairman of the fund’s German affiliate; Andranik Mikayelyan, a member of the Board of the German affiliate; and Hamo and Tamar Gregorian and their children.
The honor of cutting the red ribbon was given to Gilbert Momdjian and Minister Artem Asatryan. “Within the short span of the renovations, this home has been completely transformed,” Momdjian said in his opening remarks. “Our shared goal today is to ensure that these children have normal, happy lives.”
On her part, Ruzanna Avagyan, director of the Gyumri Children’s Home, conveyed her gratitude to the project’s benefactors and added, “What you’ve accomplished through this initiative is the noble mission of helping provide these children with the warmth and care of a family.”
Subsequently Hamo Gregorian presented a check in the amount of U.S. $10,000 to Gilbert Momdjian and said, “We have many benefactors and they all contribute support to the best of their abilities, but no less important are those who personally look after these children on a daily basis.”
Built in 1924, the Gyumri Children’s Home was used as a boarding kindergarten until 1972. Two additional wings were built in 1946 and 1993, respectively.
Currently over 120 children with mental or physical disorders live and receive care at the facility. After they reach age 6, the children are placed in various specialized orphanages, among them the Kharberd 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 for 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 following medical treatment, they are allowed to rejoin their families at the families’ request.
In his keynote address, which concluded the ceremony, Ara Vardanyan said, “It was our decision to mark the 20th anniversary of the fund not with spectacular celebrations, but rather openings of a diversity of completed projects. We started these openings in the beginning of this year in Artsakh, and will continue to unveil fresh projects throughout 2012, in Armenia and Artsakh alike.”