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[Web Wrap]: Living in Armenia: The Battle of Poverty and Prosperity.

January 11, 2011

This is a great testament to the existing economic disparity in Armenia. Read!

By Maria Titizian via Asbarez.com

I have had to bear witness to poverty in my homeland more times than I care to remember. I have felt the bitter cold of winter on my back each time I have gone to the village of Vedi for Christmas to visit distant relatives who live there. The same occurred again this year when I made my annual trek to see this family of six who live in conditions that should bring shame on all of us.

Please continue reading here.

Etchmiadzin, Armenia, 2009

Poverty

© Sara Anjargolian via Asbarez.com

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[FAR & BAFA Soup Kitchens]: Gohar Karapetyan And The Staff of Nor Hajn’s Soup Kitchen.

January 11, 2011

FAR’s Nor Hajn Soup Kitchen has operated for 16 years. Gohar Karapetyan, part of a team of five cooks, including Dariko Dallakyan, Alisa Hakobyan, Anahit Melikyan, Sveta Baghramyan, and their supervisor Babken Hakobyan, lead the kitchen’s operations.

Together, they all work in the soup kitchen as one peaceful family.

Nor Hajn Soup Kitchen’s Cooks
(from left to right)Alisa, Sveta, Dariko, Anahit

Alisa_Sveta_Gohar_Dariko_Anahit

Credit: Felix Arustamyan

Born in 1963, Gohar is the youngest employee of the soup kitchen. She has worked there since 1995. Her husband Harutyun died four years ago, leaving her alone with her two sons Hamlet, 28, and Sargis, 24, and her one and a half year old grandson Harutyun. Just as many other family members of soup kitchen employees, Gohar’s husband used to visit and eat there. During those years, everyone lived in very poor conditions, so the kitchen also served staff as a means of support.

“Since my husband’s death this place has given me much needed help and a source of peace,” Gohar said. ”This soup kitchen has become my second home.”

Gohar Karapetyan

Gohar_Karapetyan_NorHajn

Credit: Felix Arustamyan

All employees are comforted when they know that each of their beneficiaries have their meal every day, said Gohar. They also worry when the elderly patrons do not show. “We always take the meal to their homes when they are ill, when we know they are unable to visit the soup kitchen,” she said. “We are happy to do this kind work and we are always touched to receive the appreciation of people. Sometimes the old men kiss our hand as a token of their gratitude. We share with our beneficiaries their happiness and sorrow. We celebrate the birth of a grandchild, and we buy a present for the family.”

Gohar recalled a young beneficiary named Naira who had attended the soup kitchen since the age of 10. She had vision problems and FAR Soup Kitchens Program Coordinator Rafik Martirosyan helped her to cure her eyes thanks to the support of BAFA. When Naira married a man in Javakhk, the entire staff bought presents for the new couple. “We always treated her as our daughter,” said Gohar. “And now she often calls us and tells us how much she misses us.”

All soup kitchen staff are grateful to FAR and BAFA. Many have said that it’s because of the kitchen that they have been able to support their families for many years and receive help in dire circumstances. Although their salaries are not high, they remain devoted. Gohar’s story attests to this, “We are pleased to receive the blessings of our beneficiaries and provide a way for everyone to receive their daily bread.” 

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[Web Wrap]: Hollywood’s First Celebrity Humanitarian that America Forgot.

January 11, 2011

Anyone remember Jackie Coogan?

By Vicken Babkenian via Asbarez.com

A story that made the rounds in Hollywood in the 1960’s told of how a little girl who had been a fan of the TV series “The Addams Family” was lunching with her mother in a studio cafe, when she spotted the actor who played Uncle Fester. The girl excitedly approached the beefy 50-year-old man and asked him for his autograph. With a broad smile, he signed, “Jackie Coogan.” Studying the signature with great dismay, the little girl cried out, “Who’s Jackie Coogan? I have never heard of him! I wanted you to sign ‘Uncle Fester’!”1

While many of us will identify with the girl’s disappointment, the story is fraught with irony and represents the forgotten legacy of Hollywood’s first “celebrity humanitarian.”

Please continue reading here.

Hollywood

Credit: Vicken Babkenian via Asbarez.com

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[Web Wrap]: People Came to Say Last Farewell to Ohan Duryan.

January 10, 2011

We express our deep condolences to the family and relatives of the great Armenian conductor.

Via Times.am

Many people gathered at the National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet to make a last farewell to Ohan Duryan, well-known composer and conductor.

Prominent art critics and politicians have attended the funeral ceremony to extend their condolences to the relatives of the deceased.

Please continue reading here.

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[Armenian Landscapes]

January 10, 2011

Sevan Island in winter

Sevan island

Credit: Levon Lachikyan

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[Armenian Life]

January 10, 2011

A vintage illustration of its formation.

Armenian Alphabet

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[FAR & BAFA Soup Kitchens]: Beneficiary Profile: Nora Gzoghyan.

January 10, 2011

“Grandma” Nora Gzoghyan is 70 years old. She has come to the Nor Hajn Soup Kitchen since the day it opened in 1995. With an elder sister who’s ill and bed ridden, Grandma Nora always saves a portion of her daily meal to take home to her sister.

“We live together in a dormitory,” said Nora, who is her sister’s sole caretaker. “I thank God for this place, this soup kitchen, where I can find warmth and a daily meal. It is here where I have friends and where I am surrounded by dear people. When the soup kitchen is closed during the weekend, my sister and I stay hungry for days. I only receive a pension now, which is hardly enough to live on.”

Nora Gzoghyan

Nora Gzoghyan 1

Credit: Felix Arustamyan

Grandma Nora lost her husband 25 years ago and she has no children. For years, she worked as a custodian in a local school. She extolled the kindness of the kitchen’s staff who always make her feel at home. “They come and ask me if I need something, like if I want a hot tea to warm myself from the cold. I am so thankful for all of them.”

Due to her serious vision problems, FAR Soup Kitchen Coordinator Rafik Martirosyan helped Grandma Nora obtain necessary medicine, which is brought to the kitchen for her each week.

“My hope and belief is in this place,” she said, as tears welled up in her eyes.

Grandma Nora Receives Christmas Presents

Nora Gzoghyan with Christmas presents

Credit: Felix Arustamyan