Archive for the ‘Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP)’ Category


[CASP]: Beneficiary profile: Esma Ghazaryan.

December 13, 2010

Esma Ghazaryan and her family lived a pretty good life in the southern Armenian town of Meghri until April 26th of this year when, in the middle of a family party, Esma’s father Aram died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 64.
The family had been celebrating the eldest son Artur’s birthday that day. Esma’s mother Naira cannot even recall the accident without crying. For many years she had worked as a teacher in the Aesthetic Educational Center in Meghri. Now, she is unemployed. After the tragic incident, she was able to find consolation in the local spiritual father Der Endza’s prayers and consoling words. Father Endza then told Naira about the Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP), an initiative from the Women’s Guild Central Council of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern).

Esma standing by her Father’s
Memorial Drinking Fountain 


Credit: Levon Lachikyan 

After submitting the application, 11-year-old Esma was accepted as a CASP beneficiary. Now, the family receives a stipend each month, which helps them cover day-to-day living expenses. Just like all CASP families, Naira and her family members are grateful to their supporters on the other side of the world who care enough to try and ease the financial difficulties of single parents and their children.

Esma with her Family

Esma with her Family

Credit: Levon Lachikyan

CASP is a program of the Women’s Guild Central Council of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern). For years, CASP has also focused its attention on the poorest Armenian families of Javaghk. More than 100 children from single-parent households receive CASP’s monthly stipend.


[CASP]: CASP Renews Hope For a Better Future.

November 16, 2010

By Lusine Mouradyan

Life is hard for Armenian families in Javaghk. Jobs are meager, weather and terrain are severe and opportunities for income limited.

It is even harder for Sveta and Samvel Maranjyans from the town of Aghlqalaq. The children live with their mother and grandmother. The family’s only income is childcare allowance and the grandmother’s pension that equals 100 USD per month. However things have changed and new hope knocked at their door when Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP), a program of the Women’s Guild Central Council of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), started supporting them through the Fund for Armenian Relief.

Sveta is in the 7th grade and Samvel is in the 9th grade at the local public school. They excel in their studies — Sveta in humanities and Samvel in natural science. They are now able to pursue their talents and passions too. Samvel likes to paint, he even showed his works recently at local art exhibitions. Sveta enjoys embroidery.

Sveta Shows Her Brother’s Pictures

Svetlana is showing the pictures of her brother Samvel

Credit: Lusine Mouradyan

“The children are my happiness, they are my hope, and they help me a lot. I am so happy to see them making progress in their lives,” said their mother Gohar Maranjyan.

Sveta Maranjyan

Maranjyan Svetlana #J 030

Credit: Lusine Mouradyan

Samvel has a dream to continue his education through college or university after he graduates. He is not sure whether he can afford it, though. “Football is my hobby. I can play football with my friends all day long but school my first priority. I know I must study well to be able to take care of my mother,” Samvel told us.

Samvel Maranjyan

Maranjyan Samvel # J 013

Credit: Lusine Mouradyan

CASP is a program of the Women’s Guild Central Council of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern). For years, CASP has also focused its attention on the poorest Armenian families of Javaghk. More than 100 children from families deprived of a sole bread winner (father) receive CASP’s monthly stipend.


[CME]: CME Supports Gavar Special School.

November 2, 2010

By Hambartsum Simonyan

Two members of the Gavar Special School’s staff completed FAR’s Continuing Medical Education program in October. Doctor Susanna Zalibekyan, a general practitioner, and nurse Armine Sirunyan both participated in four weeks of training on rehabilitation and physical therapy at the Republican Center of Pediatric Rehabilitation in Yerevan. The two are essential members of Gavar’s staff, a school that specifically caters to handicapped children.


Credit: Hambartsum Simonyan

Gavar is currently under renovation and will be opening a special physical therapy wing in the coming months, thanks to generous support from the Estate of Akabe Gulbankian and the Open Society Foundation Armenia. Their month-long training enables both Dr. Zalibekyan and Ms. Sirunyan to specifically serve the students who will utilize the new center.


Credit: Hambartsum Simonyan


Credit: Hambartsum Simonyan

CME gives doctors from Armenia’s rural areas the opportunity to enhance their modern medical knowledge and practice. These doctors have the opportunity to learn about innovative approaches and methodologies from top healthcare providers in Yerevan free of cost. CME also holds symposiums throughout the year.


[CASP]: Beneficiary Profile: Sargis and Sevada Sargsyans.

October 21, 2010

Life in an Armenian village is undoubtedly hard. Everyday efforts to survive often get the best of residents, many of whom eventually leave to make a fresh start in Yerevan or abroad.

Davit-Bek is a village 25 kilometers outside of Kapan. At one time, the village had a shoe factory, which was a source of employment for hundreds of people. The factory ceased operating long ago. Just 100 children go to the village’s lone school. Here, Sevada and Sargis Sargsyans attend 6th and 11th grades, respectively. Their mother Sveta, despite her young age of 48, looks like an old woman. She previously worked as a seamstress in the local shoe factory. Her husband Sedrak worked as a tractor driver. While Sveta had several children, many tragically died shortly after childbirth. Today, the two boys and a daughter Lusine are the only survivors.

Sargsyans’ House in Davit-Bek Village

David Bek village. Sargsyan's house

Credit: Levon Lachikyan

Although he will graduate from high school in a year, Sargis suffers from serious respiratory problems. He needs surgery, but with the operation estimated to cost $1,000 U.S., it’s unaffordable. Both Sargis and his younger brother Sevada try their best to help their parents. They gather berries in the forest, hack branches of the trees for firewood; sometimes they drive the cattle out to the fields. The family barely manages to make ends meet. Sveta and Sedrak must lean on their meager unemployment assistance to get by.

So the two boys’ recent involvement in the Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program was a real boost for the family.

Sargsyan Family At Home

Sargsyans at home

Credit: Levon Lachikyan

CASP is an initiative of the Women’s Guild Central Council of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern). Through support from benefactors abroad, CASP helps children from low-income families who have lost one or both parents through the distribution of yearly stipends, which help them make ends meet. This is the second time the family will receive a CASP stipend. Last winter the money was used to purchase fuel. This year, Sveta will buy warm clothes and winter shoes for her sons.

Sargis Hacking Wood In The Yard

Sarkis at work

Credit: Levon Lachikyan

When we entered Davit-Bek village, it was getting dark and rain fell lightly from the sky. Sargis was hacking wood in the yard. Winter seems to start earlier in these areas. Inside the Sargsyans’ home, however, it was warm and a fire was burning in the furnace. Indeed it was evident that support from CASP warmed not only the bodies but also hearts, and it inspires hope. 


[CASP]: Beneficiary Profile: Mekhak Asryan.

October 18, 2010

By Levon Lachikyan

Mekhak Asryan was just two years old when his mother Syuzanna died from breast cancer. A few years later, his father Edik was killed in a car accident in Russia. Now 12, Mekhak lives with his grandparents and two aunts in Goris. While serious and somewhat withdrawn, he adamantly pursues his studies, along with piano lessons and his athletic endeavors. He recently won first prize in a national sports competition.

Mekhak Asryan

Mekhak Asrian

Credit: FAR Staff

Mekhak was raised by his aunt Nune, whom he now calls “mother.”

“Mekhak is a very clever child,” Nune said. “He respects his elders and helps them in so many ways.”

Mekhak With Aunt Nune

Mekhak with his aunt Nune

Credit: FAR Staff

This is the third year that Mekhak has received a stipend from the Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP), an initiative of the Women’s Guild Central Council of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern). Through support from benefactors abroad, CASP helps children from low-income families who have lost one or both parents through the distribution of yearly stipends, which help them make ends meet. For Mekhak, this stipend impacts his entire family.

Mekhak With His Family

Mekhak & his family.jpg

Credit: FAR Staff

“With the money provided last year, we were able to buy fuel for the entire winter,” said Anahit Asryan, Mekhak’s grandmother. “This year, we will be able to pay the tuition fees of the boy’s training classes and we will also use the money to buy sport uniforms for Mekhak.”

Like, many who receive support from CASP, Anahit believes that such a program inspires hope and will help Mekhak to create a productive and brighter future.  


[CASP]: Children Receive Necessary Aid.

October 14, 2010

Stipends from the Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP), an initiative of the Women’s Guild Central Council of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), have once again reached Armenia’s children in need.

This week, FAR staff successfully distributed CASP stipends to youth in Goris, Kapan, Meghri and Sisian. Children of Shirak and Javakhk will receive their stipends before the end of the month.

Fr. Shirak Praying With CASP Beneficiaries
At St. Mesrob Mashtots Church in Kapan

CASP_Father Shirak praying _ St. Mesrob Mashtots Church

Credit: FAR Staff

CASP supports children from low-income families who have lost one or both parents  through yearly stipends that help them make ends meet. This support is crucial and enables the children and their families to afford necessities like groceries and school supplies.

Fr. Grigor and Eduard Karapetyan With Beneficiaries
At St. Grigor Lusavorich Church in Sisian

CASP_ Father Grigor Hovsepyan in St. Grigor Lusavorich Church

Credit: FAR Staff

Through CASP the Women’s Guild Central Council of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) also enables these kids to attend summer camps each year, another initiative FAR is proud to support.

Levon Lachikyan, Fr. Yntsa & Eduard Karapetyan
At St. Mariam Astvatsatsin Church’s
Sunday School in Meghri

CASP_ Fr. Yntsa in Meghri_St. Mariam Astvatsatsin Church

Credit: FAR Staff

Home Visits in Kapan: CASP Beneficiaries
Sahakyan Sargis and Sevada

CASP_ Kapan_ Sahakyan Sargis and Sevada

Credit: FAR Staff

Home Visits in Sisian: Khurshudyan Family
(from left to right) Ruzanna, Karo and Siranush

CASP_Sisian_ Khurshudyan family - Ruzanna, Karo and Siranush

Credit: FAR Staff


[CASP]: Beneficiary Profile: Gurgen Darbinyan.

September 15, 2010

By Marina Bazayeva

The beginning of September in Armenia is a golden time when kids recently back from their vacation, meet their new classmates and teachers, and share their impressions of summer. The most fortunate ones are those like Gurgen Darbinyan, a 13-year-old with an artistic soul, who was able to attend summer camp. A beneficiary of the Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP), Gurgen lost his father at the age of 9. Now he lives with his mother in one of Gymuri’s makeshift shelter, which lacks basic amenities. His mother is a teacher who also worked as a trainer in the CASP camp. Her teaching and organizational skills were truly a benefit for the camp’s children and its staff.

Gurgen Reading

Gurgen reading

Credit: FAR Staff

She organized multiple activities including drawing and singing groups, which Gurgen joined because of his talent and exceptional musical education. (His vocal teacher is the lead singer of the Shirak Diocese Cappella.)

Gurgen in Harij Monastery

Gurgen in Harij

Credit: FAR Staff

Gurgen also sang during a midday liturgy in the 13th Century Harij Monastery. He visited the monastery with the World Armenian Church Youth Organization Camp, along with representatives from the FAR Shirak department and the Ounjian School.

Gurgen with WACYO Camp in Harij

WACYO in Harij

Credit: FAR Staff

He is also extremely well bred. He believes in the church and the art that has preserved Armenia for all these centuries. Along those lines, he plans to attend a seminary and dedicate himself to serving the Armenian Apostolic church.


[CASP]: Siranush Summer Camp Comes to a Close.

August 31, 2010

The Siranush camp wrapped up its summer session on August 25. Now the 77 Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program beneficiaries who had spent a good part of their summer playing and learning in Yeghegnadzor have returned home with some unforgettable memories to cherish.


Credit: FAR Staff

A bonfire and feast were held on the campers’ last day and the children participated in singing and dancing as well. All eagerly expressed their thankfulness to CASP and to FAR for making it possible to attend the camp and find an escape, however brief, from work and school during the year.


Credit: FAR Staff

The Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program supports children from low-income families year round through monthly stipends to help them make ends meet. CASP also enables these kids to attend camps like Siranush each summer.


Credit: FAR Staff

All of us at FAR wish these children the very best!  


[CASP]: Profile: Camp Instructor Ramela Danielyan.

August 26, 2010

By Levon Lachikyan

Children from single-parent households who are supported by the Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program have the opportunity to attend summer camp each year. The camps provide a healthy outlet to children who are able to enjoy 20 days of fun and activity, while also getting a break from the pressures of home and work.

The camps also provide opportunity to parents of these children. In fact, several instructors at the Siranush camp in Yeghegnadzor like Ramela Danielyan are also single-mothers who rely on CASP support year round.

Ramelia came to Siranush from Kapan. Her past is mixture of both happiness and sorrow. Born in the border village of Davit Bek, she was in eighth grade when Azeris began bombing her village and was forced to move with her classmates to Kajaran to finish school. Ramela attended Yerevan State Engineering University’s Kapan campus. While there, she met and married Edik Vardanyan and had a son and a daughter. Their happiness didn’t last long, however. Edik fought in the Karabagh War and was killed in a firearm explosion on August 5, 2001.

CASP Summer camp_Ramella

Credit: FAR Staff

“Of course, it is impossible to erase the pain, but it is still possible to soothe and console it,” Ramela said.

Having always loved teaching, Ramela decided to continue her education at Yerevan State Pedagogical Institute, where she studied elementary education and worked in their village school. It was there that she learned about CASP. And while Ramela herself never spent time at a summer camp growing up, she now works as a camp instructor.

“The camp is like a family,” she said. “You should see what talented children we have here. They work everyday to improve.” She does not make a distinction between her own children and the rest of the group and she complements all of her work with love.

It is worth mentioning that Ramela also writes. She shared with me her lyrical writings, tender and filled with love. This love, coupled with her positive outlook on life, will indeed help her to continue on a positive path.


[CASP]: Blessing of the Grapes.

August 23, 2010

August 15 is a special day in the Armenian Apostolic Church, during which Armenians not only celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of St. Mary, but also the Blessing of the Grapes, a recognition of the fertility of Armenia’s land and the abundance of its harvest. 

Father Vazgen Blesses the Grapes

Grapes blessing1

Credit: FAR Staff

The Siranush CASP summer camp in Yeghegnadzor celebrated this holiday with a fruit feast, singing, dancing and a talent show in the evening.

The Talent Show Featured
a Miss Siranush Contest

Miss Siranush _Contest

Credit: FAR Staff

Yeghegnadzor’s Father Vazgen Hovhannisyan visited to bless the grapes, which were distributed to the children.

Siranush’s Children Enjoy Blessed Grapes

Grapes blessing2

Credit: FAR Staff