Archive for the ‘Children Support Foundation Center (CSFC)’ Category

h1

[CSFC]: New Hope for the Children’s Center.

January 12, 2011

Last month, a group of distinguished women from the Eastern Diocese gathered to brainstorm ways to support and advance the mission of the Fund for Armenian Relief’s Children’s Center—one of the leading entities serving the cause of child protection in the republic’s capital city of Yerevan.

Among other initiatives, the members of the committee—Mrs. Sirvart Hovnanian (honorary chair), Mrs. Nadya Garipian (co-chair), Mrs. Sylva Torosian (co-chair), Mrs. Nuart Arslan, Mrs. Yegsa Bestepe, Mrs. Ani Hamparsumian, Mrs. Magda Najarian, Mrs. Sossie Najarian, Mrs. Karen Nargizian, Mrs. Talar Sarafian, Mrs. Anita Temiz, and Mrs. Alice Yigitkurt—decided to raise money to help organize a Christmas celebration for young people at the Children’s Center.

The funds they raised were matched by FAR’s Board of Directors chair Mr. Randy Sapah-Gulian and used to purchase gifts and supplies for children at the center. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate and President of the FAR Board of Directors, traveled to Armenia at the end of December to present the gifts to the children and to attend the celebration at the center in Yerevan.

DSC_0149

Credit: Felix Arustamyan

Archbishop Barsamian conveyed the warm wishes of the women’s committee of the Eastern Diocese, and distributed the gifts to the children. Young people showcased their talent in a special program featuring singing, dancing, and skit performances.  Also attending the celebration were members of the Children’s Center’s Circle of Friends—benefactors in Armenia who are also working to raise funds for the center.

DSC_0162

Credit: Felix Arustamyan

Since its founding in 2000, the FAR Children’s Center has improved, transformed—and occasionally saved—the lives of some 6,000 children, aged 3 to 18, who were deemed “at-risk” for a host of heartbreaking social pathologies. A professional staff of social workers, psychologists, and nurses address the specific issues of each child, and work with that child and his or her family. 

New

Credit: Felix Arustamyan

h1

[CSFC]: New Committee Forms to Advance FAR’s Yerevan Children’s Center.

December 10, 2010

Some of Armenia’s most vulnerable children may prove to be the biggest beneficiaries of a meeting last week in Red Bank, N.J.

That’s where a group of distinguished women from the Eastern Diocese gathered to brainstorm ways to support and advance the mission of the Fund for Armenian Relief’s Children’s Center—one of the leading entities serving the cause of child protection in the republic’s capital city of Yerevan.

Since its founding in the year 2000, the FAR Children’s Center has improved, transformed—and occasionally saved—the lives of some 6,000 children, aged 3 to 18, who were deemed “at-risk” for a host of heartbreaking social pathologies.

In the FAR Children’s Center, these young people find a safe refuge: a warm, encouraging environment of care, affection, and dignity. To the casual observer, it comes as a shock to realize that the sweet smiles on display at the Children’s Center have re-emerged after leaving behind histories of abuse, abandonment, homelessness, neglect, or extreme poverty.

The December 2 gathering in Red Bank met under the presiding guidance of Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), and president of FAR. Participants resolved to direct their support to the FAR Children’s Center—and to organize the others throughout the Diocese to do the same.

“We came together as Armenian women, for the sake of these special children—who are the concern of all of us, as Armenians,” said Mrs. Sirvart Hovnanian, the honorary chairperson of the committee.

“They are Armenia’s most destitute youth, and it would be so easy to overlook them,” she added. “But the FAR Children’s Center has been an angel of mercy to these kids for the past 10 years, and we should all support its noble mission, and its dedicated and caring staff.”

At the Children’s Center, each child receives individual care and attention. A professional staff of social workers, psychologists, and nurses address the specific issues of each child, and work with that child and his or her family. Indeed, its overarching goal is to strengthen these families, and to ensure the child’s reunification with his or her biological parents, wherever possible.

Keeping the child’s interests paramount, the Center has succeeded in its role as a “gate-keeper” for at-risk kids, keeping them on a productive road of education and training, and away from the dead-end paths that might otherwise entangle them.

The new Children’s Center committee has a dynamic membership, fully committed to a concerted effort of outreach.

“We are grateful to these extraordinary women who have joined together to support the FAR Children’s Center,” said Archbishop Barsamian. “And I am especially happy to see Mrs. Sirvart Hovnanian chairing this effort—truly a continuation of the noble legacy of her late husband, Mr. Kevork Hovnanian, one of FAR’s visionary founders.”

“Above all,” the Primate added, “I know that with the leadership of this committee, the lives of some otherwise neglected children in our homeland will be brighter.”

The members of the FAR Children Center committee have already begun an outreach effort to local communities throughout the Eastern Diocese, and are identifying ways to educate parishioners and friends about the Center, and encourage them to find creative ways to support it.

A new committee has resolved to direct its support to the FAR Children’s Center. Committee members posed for a group photo with Archbishop Khajag Barsamian and Annette Choolfaian, Vice Chair of FAR’s Board of Directors, last week.

CSFC

Credit: FAR Staff

Information on the FAR Children’s Center committee is available by contacting Mrs. Nadya Garipian at (201) 871-9269 or Mrs. Sylva Torosian at (201) 894-0143.

The members of the committee include: Mrs. Sirvart Hovnanian (honorary chair), Mrs. Nadya Garipian (co-chair), Mrs. Sylva Torosian (co-chair), Mrs. Nuart Arslan, Mrs. Yegsa Bestepe, Mrs. Ani Hamparsumian, Mrs. Magda Najarian, Mrs. Sossie Najarian, Mrs. Karen Nargizian, Mrs. Talar Sarafian, Mrs. Anita Temiz, and Mrs. Alice Yigitkurt.

h1

[CSFC]: Two More Children Admitted to Center Following Mother’s Attempted Suicide.

December 7, 2010

By Mira Antonyan

Last week, two more children arrived at FAR’s Children’s Support Foundation Center (CSFC) in Yerevan. Tragically, their mother Armine* recently attempted suicide. Just 25 years old, she was trying to raise both of her sons on her own. Their father is said to have fled to Russia. 

Armine was working in a Yerevan factory and living in its dormitory when she was diagnosed with kidney problems and hospitalized. Her colleagues raised money to pay for her treatment, and she had her kids placed in a kindergarten while they stayed with neighbors. Upon her release from the hospital, Armine found out that she could not afford to pay the 9,000 AMD monthly bills for each of her children. Caught in a deepening and severe depression, Armine lost hope that she would be able to continue to care for her family in the future. She then swallowed an entire bottle of sleeping pills.

“I took pills because I didn’t want to throw myself off of my balcony. I was afraid that people would photograph my lifeless body below,” she said, through her tears. “My children are my happiness. I don’t want them to be placed in orphanages. They are my life.” 

“For some, a suicide attempt is a way to express deep emotional pain,” a CSFC social worker said. “They cannot say how they feel, so for them attempting suicide seems like the only way they can get their message across.”

Armine is now recovering in the hospital while her children are safely living at the center until the family can be reunited. FAR will also do its best to assist this family in their recovery.

CSFC

Credit: Mira Antonyan

*Names have been kept confidential to protect identity.

h1

[CSFC]: FAR Continues its Work to End Child Abuse.

November 23, 2010

By Manane Petrosyan

Following the recent discussion groups held in Kotayk and Ararat about the prevention of child abuse, about 75 representatives from youth and family protection groups, along with policymakers convened at Yerevan’s Congress Hotel. Their mission: to discuss how Armenian society can better address child protection and prevent abuse. Using a strategy plan constructed from the previous discussion, the group began work on a new advocacy and awareness campaign for the national media to catalyze action against the abuse and violence of children in honor of the World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse.

Attendees included Deputy Representative of UNICEF-Armenia Cristina Roccella; the head of Family, Women and Children Programs at the Ministry of Labor and Social Issues Lala Ghazaryan; and Nelly Duryan from RA Police. Representatives from parental, educational and domestic violence support groups, religious and civic organizations, and child protective services attended, along with health and mental health professionals, educators and lawyers.

Round Table Discussion on
Prevention of Child Abuse in Armenia

Round table

Credit: Manane Petosyan

Discussion focused on different forms of violence, how to avoid victimization and how NGOs in collaboration with the state can raise awareness about the problem of child abuse.

CSFC Director Mira Antonyan says the top concerns for child abuse are neglect, physical violence in families, either by children of the same age or by adults, as well as sexual harassment. Physical abuse is loosely defined in Armenia; most parents and teachers still consider it normal to slap or spank children who misbehave. Still, child abuse in Armenia remains a taboo subject.

Mira Antonyan (center) with Representatives
From Youth & Family Protection Groups

Round_table

Credit: Manane Petrosyan

“We all care about the issue of child abuse and violence, but very often we hear more about the problem than we do about the solutions. Preventing child abuse means setting the stage for healthy, stable families who have the tools they need to care for their children,” Mira said. “We want the public to realize that preventing child abuse is a shared responsibility. It needs everyone’s attention on a daily basis, not just one day during the month of November.”

h1

[CSFC]: Advocating for the Prevention of Child Abuse.

November 19, 2010

By Mira Antonyan

Today is the World Day for Prevention of Abuse and Violence Against Children. As the only institution in Armenia that performs crisis intervention and youth rehabilitation, FAR’s Children Support Foundation Center (CSFC) joined the 2010 campaign by organizing and taking part in round table discussions with other child protection groups in Armenia.

Mira Antonyan During the Discussions on
Child Abuse Prevention in Armenia

CROC1

Credit: Manane Petrosyan

On November 15, 62 child protection specialists gathered for discussion in Kotayk and Ararat marz with the aim of developing a strategy plan to further prevent child abuse in Armenia. As part of the plan, they mapped services and referral mechanisms as well as outlined the basic problems in regard to violence and abuses against children in the cultural context. Today, the strategy plan will be submitted to policy makers at Yerevan’s Congress Hotel.

Forum on Prevention of Child Abuse

CROC

Credit: Manane Petrosyan

According to CSFC, almost 100 percent of children who come to the center are victims of psychological abuse. Between 12-15 percent of them have been raped or subjected to sexual violence each year, usually by someone within their family circle. Between 50 and 60 percent of children are said to have witnessed domestic violence. Furthermore, the majority of these children suffer at the hands of their parents and caregivers as violence in the family can be perpetuated in the form of harsh punishment, like beating. Other close members of a child’s social circle perpetrate the majority of violent acts against children, including peers, caregivers and neighbors.

h1

[CSFC] Profile: Five-year-old Eva Learns How to Eat.

September 29, 2010

Abject poverty brings many children to FAR’s Children’s Support Foundation Center. Sometimes it is hard to imagine that even today, in a world of excess that there are still families and children living without sufficient food or clothing.

Profile_E

Credit: FAR Staff

One of the Children’s Support Foundation Center’s recent cases involved such malnutrition. Five-year-old Eva* was admitted to CSFC after being abused and abandoned by her mother. Shortly after Eva’s mother found out that she was adopted she left for Moldova in search of her biological mother. Eva was left in the care of her 73-year-old grandmother, who soon found herself emotionally, physical and financially unable to care for her. She called CSFC’s crisis hotline and Eva was taken into the care of the center staff. Exceptionally thin and pale, Eva had developed a series of health problems which caused her to be hospitalized. Today, she’s back at the center, where specialists are teaching her how to eat properly.

Eva is adjusting quite well to life at the CSFC. Judging by her smile and her enthusiasm, her pride at showing her toys and presents she received while in the hospital, she is happy to be in CSFC’s safe environment, where she is healing from her previous life of abuse. 

* FAR changed Eva’s name to protect her privacy.

h1

[CSFC]: Experts Pay Visit to Children Center.

September 27, 2010

Child protection experts from Germany, Italy, Denmark and Georgia visited FAR’s Children’s Support Foundation Center this month. The visit was one of many made to Armenia’s orphanages and schools, which the participants conducted to learn more about youth protection issues in Armenia today.

Visit _CROC

Credit: FAR Staff

Along with a presentation and a tour of the center, participants spent time with the kids at the center, talking with them and learning about them. Through CSFC, FAR has helped children and families better their lives since 2000. The only institution in Armenia that performs crisis intervention and rehabilitation, the center is also a national, full-service facility where children and their families can access shelter, counseling, outreach services, healthcare, and legal assistance.

Visit_CROC1

Credit: FAR Staff