Christmas was rapidly approaching and all children were dreaming about gifts. Unfortunately, many impoverished children in Armenia do not experience the excitement of opening presents at Christmas season because many poor families cannot even afford to purchase basic necessities for their children let along Christmas gifts. Christmas is a time of despair for these children who have few reasons for enjoyment and it brings additional psychological problems for children who feel the meaning of being disadvantaged. Generous people responded at Christmas time, when even the strongest of spirits need a little bit of help. In December 2013 with the support of individual donors the Jinishian Memorial Foundation (JMF) reached children from 5 marginalized villages of Vardenis region, Gegharquniq marz and children from Gyumri city, Shirak marz where harsh social and economic conditions were intensely reflected and conditioned by a number of factors such as severe climate conditions, unemployment and migration. The JMF delivered Christmas packages to about 302 children of 2-16 years old and each child was provided with a personal gift package which included a package of sweets, toys, warm pajama and warm blanket. The children were all cheerful and the looks on their faces were enough to show how much they appreciated the Christmas gifts the JMF had brought for them. Giving warmth, love and hope, that’s what Christmas is all about.
A culture of basic amelioration of land/soil before cultivation, which is common in developed countries, has not been formed among farmers of Armenia which use only traditional fertilizers available in the market.
To promote a new farming culture among farmers of Armenia in 2012 the JMF piloted Soil Analysis on Fertilizers and Chemicals Project to experiment the advantages of properly ameliorated and cultivated lands versus to the lands undergoing traditional amelioration and cultivation for vegetables growing. Project had experimental and meantime educational nature. It disclosed contemporary methodologies and approaches increasing the quality and quantity of the agricultural output and preventing the soil from corrosion on a long run.
It’s already more than twenty years that Aram Mkhitaryan is involved in agriculture and stockbreeding in the Pokr-Vedi community of Ararat marz. He cultivates both his own and rented plots. The main source of income comes from the sales of corn, wheat, barley and grapes. The sales of beef and pork also bring in an income for him.
Aram Mkhitaryan started his business from a small farm with low incomes and lots of social problems. Beginning from 2010 he started to cooperate with the CARD AgroCredit UCO CJSC. Provided loans enabled the expansion of the farm and increase of incomes. From the year 2011 CARD AgroCredit started to provide loans through the Jinishian Memorial Foundation, and Aram received 3 loans in total. The low interest rate loan was an additional chance for Aram and other farmers to improve and expand their business, and agricultural sector of Armenia has benefited a lot from this collaborative work. Aram mentions, that he became inspired for new ideas and programs and decided to rent and cultivate additional lands.
There are two types of people in this world - ordinary and resistant. I was always told that I belong to the latter category, so as you can understand that debate is something close to my heart. When I became a 9th grade student at school, I was provided an opportunity to demonstrate my resistant personality in the debate club established at our school within the scope of a project implemented by the Jinishian Memorial Foundation. Being not fully developed, but yet a self-confident and result-oriented 13 year old, I started gaining debating skills. And I immediately understood that the characteristic given to me since childhood was completely true.
Abrahamyan Nane, Gyumri, 2 years old
The parents applied to the Arabkir Medical Center having problems with their infant’s gait. The radiography detected two-sided dysplasia of the hip (DDH). After a conversation with the parents of the child it became clear that the grandmother, being herself a medical worker, displayed indifference to the ultrasound screening and did not allow the procedure. However, when the child began to walk, it was the grandmother who noticed the strange gait of the child and, realizing the seriousness of her wrong decision, made the parents consult the appropriate doctor. Now the child is under ambulatory treatment at the Arabkir Medical Center where the doctors will try to make the hip grow normally by means of conservative methods like using gypsum bandages and, later on, wearing a separating harness. The child will be monitored until the end of the treatment. However, because of the late detection of the hip dysplasia, it’s difficult to foresee how the child’s hips will grow. One cannot rule out that the doctors could very well recommend a surgical intervention when the child grows up.
Khachatryan Mane, Akhuryan region, 1,5 years old
Mane did not pass her ultrasound screening immediately after she was born because the hospital ultrasound specialist was absent that day. The child was discharged from the hospital. After a month the newborn child was brought to see a pediatrician. By a fortunate coincidence, the ultrasound specialist was also in the office. Learning that Mane had not passed the ultrasound screening, he suggests to her parents to complete it as soon as possible. After the screening she was diagnosed with a two-sided dysplasia of the hip. The pediatric orthopedist of Gyumri starts the treatment of the child, explaining to the parents what dysplasia of the hip is, what treatment the child must undergo, and what the consequences will be if the child receives the proper treatment in time. Realizing the seriousness of the illness causing this disability, Mane’s parents listen to the advice of the doctor and promise to be consistent during the whole period of the treatment.
The sad reality of the Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) war (1988-1994) is that it wounded the soul of each person living there. It took away thousands of lives, and left children orphaned. Nothing is forgotten, but life goes on, and what else can we do? Some say they would rather have died in the war than continue to live as they do.
Armen is one of those people. Born in Hadrut town, he became a war veteran by age 21, traumatized psychologically and physically. During military action in Meliqashen village, he was seriously injured and his leg was surgically removed. It was 1993. His head and lungs were affected as well. Armen received medical assistance in Hadrut and Stepanavan hospitals. But another stab in the back was waiting at home. The girl he loved did not want contact with a handicapped man. Armen’s health was getting worse and worse. He did not want to communicate with people. In 2005 memory loss problems arose. Armen lived with his family, who were all very vulnerable. They were on the list for receiving an apartment until…
The Youth Engaged in Society (YES) project implemented by JMF Armenia and Youth for Achievements NGO promotes civil society through extracurricular debate clubs in over 100 schools in Armenia. Tatev joined the debate club in 8th grade thinking she would participate in the club a year at most. However, she was captivated by the project and continued through graduation. Not only did the project help her understand and debate issues of human rights and democracy, it led her to study law at the French University of Armenia. With guidance from JMF, Tatev has started a debate club in her university, which continues to attract students and engages them in debate on critical issues facing Armenia. “Debate club is a lifetime experience that increases students’ knowledge and self-confidence,” says Tatev.
Thanks to a generous gift from a vacation bible school group in Iowa, seven year old Arusik received two digital hearing aids. Arusik lives in Vanadzor city, Armenia with her parents, two older sisters and one younger brother. This city suffered severe damage and thousands died during the 1988 earthquake, the effects of which are still seen today. Arusik and her family live in a rundown one-bedroom apartment with broken windows and doors.
They live on the 8th floor with an elevator that has been out of order for almost 10 years. All three sisters have serious hearing difficulties, only the young brother can hear and speak well. The girls try very hard to interact with their peers, but since they cannot hear well, they cannot pronounce all the sounds accordingly, making it difficult to understand what they say. In spite of all the challenges, they are enjoying their life within the walls of their poor but loving house with a caring mother and father, who struggle to provide everything it takes to make sure their children get proper education for the future. With the digital hearing aids, Arusik hears almost perfectly and her doctor says she will improve her ability to speak clearly very soon, which is very important for Arusik, since she wants to become a teacher.
During Armenia's worst period of political and economic instability, Hovhannes started a farm from nothing in the abandoned and devastated village of Tghkut. Today, Hovhannes is a prosperous farmer. In 1989 Hovhannes began his career as a farmer by caring for the livestock of neighboring farms. Seven years ago, he borrowed 10 cows to start his own farming business. He managed to buy the cows in two years, making the start of a rewarding business. In 2005 Hovhannes was given the opportunity to receive a favorable micro-credit from the Jinishian Memorial Foundation (JMF). JMF had decided to extend its micro-credit services to the Meghri region after a study revealed the Meghri region, which includes Tghkut, had no access to micro-credits due to its remoteness from the capital city Yerevan.
During a period of three years Hovhannes had the highest repayment rate of any borrower and enlarged his livestock more than four times. Now he is an "A" class borrower, which means he receives the best interest rate and biggest available micro-credits. Moreover, he is a famous in the region for his high quality and great tasting cheese.