Friday, September 24, 2010

Vanessa Kachadurian-Armenia's other Children

Yerevan - They are three and four year olds who excitedly run over to me with ear-to-ear smiles as I arrive at the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) Children's Center in Yerevan. Their cherubic faces are aglow with the happiness that only children of this age can express unabashedly.

But their joyous greeting belies a darker history of the 38 children at the Center - aged 3 to 18 currently, of possible abuse, abandonment, homelessness, sexual trafficking, or simply parents so poor they cannot afford to raise them. Though the number of children at this Center is very small, it nonetheless exposes a condition that is on the rise due to the severe economic conditions in Armenia.

It was during my recent trip to Armenia that I had the privilege of visiting this amazing institution which is supported by the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR). The buildings are nestled among trees, playground areas, and fragrant flower beds planted and cared for by the children. There is even a sandbox for the more aggressive youngsters to relieve their frustrations, anxieties and fears.

In one building live the younger children, and the teenagers are housed in the second one, both kept in immaculate condition. During my walk-through, a class was taking place with an instructor questioning the older ones about Armenian history. In another room, a therapist was counseling a weeping child. And in a nearby bedroom, two teenagers were quietly discussing personal issues. In the two art rooms, the drawing, painting, and sculpting talents of these youngsters were proudly displayed.

The usual stay for a child at the Center is 30 to 40 days, after which some return to their biological families (65 percent), go into foster care (with funds from FAR and UNICEF ended), or stay with relatives. The last option is either an orphanage, night care, or special educational schools. More than 400 youngsters go through this Center, and find a better life every year.

Change of concept
Started in 1937, the Center was run by the police as a refuge for lost children during the Soviet era. Before 1999, the idea behind this Center was isolation and punishment. In 1999, the Center was given to FAR which undertook a complete reconstruction and renovation. Through the vision of an American philanthropist, Barbara Lorinci, and the influence of FAR Board of Directors member Annette Choolfaian, the concept was changed, and in 2000, FAR hired social workers, psychologists, therapists, creating a new team where the police had a minimal role.

"Most of the children have come from poverty or family difficulties, and have found an organized, devoted family life here," said the energetic and dedicated Director of the FAR Children's Center, Dr. Mira Antonyan who has a PH.D. in Social Work, and has been with the Center since August 2005. "All children have the right to live safely, to enjoy life freely in secure environments."

Before independence, there were 600 children in institutions, Dr. Antonyan continued. By 2002, the figure had escalated to 12,000 due to extreme poverty (over 50 percent of the country), the Karabagh war, and the lack of services. The current era is much more child-focused, but it depends on each situation. Since 2000, more than 6000 traumatized children have been cared for at the Children's Center.

From 1999 to 2004, approximately 2000 children were found begging in the streets, along with their mothers, Dr. Antonyan revealed. The fathers had either been killed in the Karabagh war, were separated, or had gone to Russia seeking work. Some parents were drug users, or had mental illnesses.

And some of the traumatic conditions that these children have been subjected to include behavioral problems, drugs (including using petrol as drugs), child prostitution (a nine-year old boy), sex trafficking (two sisters 13 and 14 years of age), stealing (218 cases), children working in dangerous conditions (40 percent). This is in addition to the 8000 in orphanages, and 800 in day care.

Dedicated attention, support needed
Today, each child receives individual and caring attention, and the premises evoke a feeling of coziness, and warmth. The professional staff of the Center includes social workers, psychologists and nurses who give individual care and support to each child and family.

On an honor roll in the foyer of one of the buildings were listed the benefactors who are supporting the Center, including the names of several Armenian-Americans. Just recently, the Mardigian Family Foundation gave a generous donation to establish the FAR Child Protection Fund. Dr. Antonyan pointed out that the needs of the Center are much higher than the support that is given.

"This is the only such shelter for all of Armenia and Karabagh," continued Dr. Antonyan who pointed out that "there is no social support for these at risk children when they are living with their families. But in these institutions, the state, the diaspora, and charities will support them.

But it has been proven that children who have been in institutions, and therefore do not have a close bond with their families, retain many behavioral, developmental and personality problems, including a lack of social skills, and low self esteem when they reach adulthood.

The Children's Center is for many of these children their only home, and their hope for a more stable future. "Their past is the past and cannot be changed," said Dr. Antonyan. "We are doing our best to make their future as bright and secure as possible."

For more information on the Yerevan Children's Center, or to make a donation, readers can contact the FAR office in New York at (212) 889-5150, or at

Armenian Reporter:

Armenian Reporter:

Awesome work of FAR in Armenia

Armenian Reporter:

Armenian Reporter:

Awesome work of FAR in Armenia

Monday, September 20, 2010

Vanessa Kachadurian: Adoption Attorney duped 16 couples with empty prom...

Vanessa Kachadurian: Adoption Attorney duped 16 couples with empty prom...: "Alleged Adoption Ponzi Scam Broke the Hearts of Couples Desperate to Adopt The $60K Adoption Heartbreak: Babies Who Didn't Exist By ALICE..."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Armenian Adoption Family Code- National Assembly of Armenia

Members of the National Assembly of Armenia at the meeting in June and August 2010 made the first reading of amendments to the Family Code of the country, tightened the procedure for granting permission to adopt children from the Armenian diaspora.

"Under the proposed government amendments to the Family Code, the condition for obtaining government approval for adoption applies to the Armenian citizens residing abroad", - said Deputy Justice Minister of Armenia Gevorg Malkhasyan.

He recalled that the adoption of Armenian children by foreigners agrees Government. In this adopted alien child, as recalled Malkhasyan, loses the citizenship of Armenia.

He added that the 30-35 year children in Armenia are adopted by foreigners who are taking those children who are not willing to take on education were Armenian citizens. Basically, as he explained, is the sick children, which foreigners are trafficked abroad for treatment.

The deputy minister also added that the amendments to the Family Code, children also are guaranteed the right to live and grow up in a family, to know their biological parents, the right to care and custody of their parents, live with them, except when it is contrary to the interests of the child.

The draft amendments governing the registration of births in the SRO.
In 2009. in Armenia, 44,999 children were born. During this period, there were 18,765 marriages and 3,013 divorces, 14,165 cases of recognition of paternity and 131 cases of adoption. The number of deaths was 27,268.

In 2008. RA was born in 41,406 children were registered 18,236 cases of marriage and 3,192 cases divorce. 13,257 people admitted his paternity, 180 children were adopted. The number of deaths was 27,281.

In 2007. in the republic was born 40,844 children were registered 18,144 marriages and 3,083 divorce. 13,158 people admitted paternity, 187 children were adopted. The number of deaths was 26,827.

Thus, the birth rate in Armenia has increased parallel reduction in mortality. This was reported in the Ministry of Justice of Armenia.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Vanessa Kachadurian-Children Support Centers by FAR

Donate to FAR- Fund for Armenian Relief, we can continue our Child Support Center and Foster Care Program. Understand, they WILL NOT be arrested as they were in the Republic of Georgia, foster parents in Armenia are protected by the local police.

According to director Mira Antonyan, very few children in Armenian orphanages are actually parentless, orphans. Rather, they are victims of abuse and abandonment. Until recently, the government’s approach has been to send these children to orphanages. The center for Child Support offers an alternative to this long withstanding practice. They offer a child-focused approach that aims to heal and rehabilitate children. They work with families, with the hope that many of the children in their temporary shelter can eventually return to their own homes. Antonyan said, “65% of its cases are reunited with their families.” In cases where family reunification is not possible, they place children with foster families. Another service that they offer is an abuse hotline. Anyone who has witnessed or suspects abuse, can report their concerns to the center. Its staff is ready to both reach out to and receive children in its facilities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

There are quite a few obstacles that stand in its way; Armenia’s fledgling foster care system, for one. About “300 families are waiting to receive children,” said Antonyan, yet the government is unable to compensate them for child-care expenses. Armenia’s social safety nets like welfare, Medicaid, and non-profit social service agencies are in their most rudimentary stages, if they exist at all. Couple the virtual absence of such safety nets with widespread unemployment, and the root of the problem continues to fester. Many families cannot adequately support their children. These are the circumstances that produce the social orphans sitting in the child support center, asserts Antonyan. The solution she declares is “supporting vulnerable families,” which the current economy and government cannot adequately do.

Among the centers most immediate needs are mental health and social work professionals who can support the center’s staff and the children they serve. The ACYOA is currently forming a committee to support FAR’s Child Support Center. They will be spending the next few months creating and implementing a plan of action.

Vanessa Kachadurian- Lawrence Zarian, Larry Zarian and Gregory Zarian

On the Left is Lawrence, Larry, and Gregory ZARIAN (3 hunks)
After attending the West Coast Banquet for ANCA today, I sat at my friends home in Little Armenia and thought about the Guest of Honor and former Mayor of Glendale--Mr. Larry Zarian.
Mr. Zarian Sr. is very giving to our community and has contributed much along with his gorgeous sons (they are SO HANDSOME) In fact, Mr. Zarian Sr. is still a handsome man. His twin boys are Lawrence and Gregory, you may know Lawrence as "The Fashion Guy" on TV Guide station and guest appearances on MANY shows. Lawrence is a former male model and as well as his hunk twin Gregory. Thank you Zarian family for all that you have done for our community and all you will continue to do.
P.S. Lawrence, "K" has a crush on you too, she calls you "shad sirrun" then blushes.

Birth Name: Lawrence S. Zarian
Birth Place: Glendale, CA
Profession: Fashion consultant; reporter; model; actor
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Lawrence Zarian is the Host of TV Guide Network’s original series THE FASHION TEAM along with Host Daphne Brogdon. The one-hour weekly series gives viewers an inside look at the world of fashion and what the stars are wearing – from Red Carpet couture to on-set styles seen in Hollywood. THE FASHION TEAM offers a review of fashion “hits and misses” from the Red Carpet, and offers advice for viewers on how to dress just like the stars they love for less.
Whether touring the country to unveil the latest trends, or interviewing the top names in Hollywood, Lawrence Zarian is always in the mix and on the cutting edge. Zarian has exploded onto the scene and is taking the fashion, television, and celebrity world by storm. His energy, quick wit, and sharp insight on "what's hot" have made him one of the most sought after on-camera personalities in the fashion industry today.

“As a kid growing up in Southern California, with a Mayor for a father, a star athlete older brother, and an identical twin, it was clear I had to do something drastic in order to make a name for myself. My twin started modeling in High School, and then took off to New York and Milan. In my head, I thought that if he could do it, so could I, or so I thought.”

While modeling in New York for the collections during one of the shows, Zarian did the unspeakable: he spoke to the audience from the runway. What should have been a fashion disaster turned out to be a blessing. A photographer from the press area was trying to snap his photo, when his camera jammed. Trying to be a good guy, he waited, and waited, unaware of the fact that the other models were lining up behind him. After what seemed like an eternity, the show coordinator said over the sound system, “Thank you, Lawrence!” Looking behind him, he realized what he had caused, and quickly responded with, “I’m not finished yet!” Oh yes he was.

The good news is that the photographer got his photo and the bad news is that Lawrence was finished working for that designer. But in the audience that day was a representative from a major department store. Impressed and inspired with what she had just witnessed, she went backstage and handed Lawrence her card, saying, “If you can speak like that in front of the world’s most established editors in the fashion business, then we’d be honored to have you speak on behalf of our company.”

And thus, The Fashion Guy was born.

"The Fashion Guy" can be seen everywhere these days. On local and national TV, at in-store appearances and in seminars across the country. Lawrence shows his fans the hottest and coolest styles, how to wear them, and most of all, where to find them. From ABC’s Live at The Academy Awards, Extreme Makeover, Live with Regis and Kelly, Dr. Phil, TYRA, and EXTRA, Lawrence has found his niche making-over the USA.

With comfort and ease he can slip into any role -- rubbing elbows with the Hollywood elite or rolling up his sleeves and accessorizing the woman at home. Always informed and always prepared, Lawrence delivers what the audience needs in a style that's fresh, fun and guaranteed to leave them wanting more.

Lawrence Zarian Fast Facts:
Has an identical twin brother, Gregory, who is a model.
Father was mayor of Glendale, CA.
Early in his modeling career, he broke one of the first rules of modeling by speaking while on the runway.
Once waited tables with Sandra Bullock.
Lawrence Zarian Relationships:
Larry Zarian - Father
Gregory Zarian - Brother
Vincent Zarian - Brother
Attended Glendale Community College, Glendale, CA

Friday, September 10, 2010

Vanessa Kachadurian- Yerevan woman that adopts homeless children

I absolutely love this woman!!! Everyone try to help her as much as possible, where they live is not great conditions and Larissa tries very hard to get the children trained for a craft and educated. She is remarkable, I love her.

YEREVAN—Unlike the fairy tale about the old woman who lived in a shoe with so many children she didn’t know what to do, Larissa offers quite the contrary perspective.

Larissa discusses her role as a foster mom to 16 children in Yerevan while a son looks on. (Tom Vartabedian photo)
In her case, she’s picked up 16 children off the streets of Yerevan and given them a loving home.

It may not be the Ritz but it offers comfort and security. All have been adopted and regardless of her age (68), there’s always the urge to provide more.

What’s more, this is no fly-by-night operation or whimsy. She’s been a surrogate mom for 27 years and has no intentions of ever stopping.

“They are the children I never had and all are very near and dear to me,” she confessed. “Some of them came to me from birth. Others were a bit older. When I see a child who’s alone, I want to bring that youth home.”

Since 1983, Larissa (no last name given) has provided for 33 children. She’s touched the gamut in age from 10-38. At the moment, there are 10 inside her residence, including three grandchildren.

“They come from the streets of Yerevan and different orphanages,” she noted. “I live in a modest home. What little I have is passed on to others.”

I heard about Larissa from a couple different sources who make regular runs at the Artbridge Coffee Shop. People come here and exchange small talk. I was looking for “the ultimate story” and Larissa’s name came up.

“She’s the one who deserves some credit,” said Araz Artinian, a prize-winning videographer whose films “The Genocide in Me” and “Twenty Voices” have received universal acclaim.

“Larissa is one amazing woman,” added Artinian. “Everyone in Yerevan knows the good heart she has with children, but nobody else. She’s somewhat of a quiet heroine.”

We met at the Ani Hotel by Abovian Street and she was accompanied by a 12-year-old named Gourken. The child added further corroboration to the interview. He’s one of those who arrived very early in life.

Like Larissa, he has an aptitude for math and loves to draw.

“People think she’s my grandmother but that’s wrong,” said Gourken. “She’s my mother and will always be my mother, no matter how old she is. I don’t look at age. I look at love.”

Many children have a variety of issues, whether it’s poverty, illness, or abuse. Some of them are at wit’s end before they arrive at Larissa’s safe haven. Others came to her from the earthquake of 1988.

She adopted her fist child in 1982. A two-year-old arrived in 1984 and on and on it went. During the Soviet regime, she began receiving a subsidy from the government, which felt homeless children were better off inside a home than wandering the streets of Armenia.

Since independence in 1991, she’s gotten some assistance but more from concerned citizens around town. Once older, the children have provided a helping hand for their “brothers and sisters.” Also assisting her cause is Rev. Aram Stepanian of Whitinsville, Mass., whose congregation has made a habit of supporting indigent children in Armenia.

Larissa is hardly a nonentity, despite the absence of a surname. She’s attended two universities and holds degrees in physics and cinematography.

Her husband died at age 32 with a stomach disorder six months after their wedding, leaving her childless. She worked the factories of Russia for three years before returning to her native Yerevan and working 25 years inside the cinema studios for $10 a week.

“They were not easy years,” she admitted. “All along, I wanted to raise children of my own as a widow and decided the best way to fill that role was to reach out to the deprived. When I see a child who’s alone, I want to provide my home. I will care for the children of Armenia until the day I die.”

An outside group sat around the hotel bar enjoying a cocktail when Larissa turned to them and proudly proclaimed, “I have 16 children.”

They looked at the gray-haired woman in amazement and someone replied, “Sixteen children? You are a very rich person indeed.”

Vanessa Kachadurian- Children of Armenia Fund (COAF)

COAF is simply the best organization around for the children of Armenia, they raise over $1 million a year. COAF has many corporate sponsors along with support of every Armenian Organization not to mention famous and powerful people. Some of them are: Ken Davitian, Jane Fonda, Andrea Martin, Eric Boghosian and Martin Short.
Dr. Garo Armen the President is an amazing and honest human being who is respected by everyone.

I met Dr. Armen when he was the Chairman at Elan Pharmaceuticals, he now has his own Oncology company called Antgentics which distributes drugs in Russia, Turkey (where he was born) and the middle east.

Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) has accomplished much in the last five years by implementing programs to address the critical needs of children living in rural Armenia. Because the development challenges facing rural communities far outweigh the resources of any single donor organization, COAF has built partnerships with local and international organizations, including the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Bank and many others. These partnerships have allowed us to successfully implement our programs with optimal efficiency in one of the most economically disadvantaged regions of the world.

The Model Village project is the first such program ever to be undertaken and has been recognized by international aid agencies as an exemplary template of sustainable development. COAF aspires to form alliances with organizations operating in other regions to share our methodology in efforts to reverse poverty in less privileged areas of the world, paving the way for a more peaceful resolution of the conflicts that exist today.

In partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), COAF completed the capital rehabilitation (view photo gallery) of Karakert’s School #2, Kindergarten #1 and Kindergarten #2. All three projects included reconstruction, renovation, site development, and refurbishment. COAF provided the school and kindergartens with running water, local heating systems and indoor lavatories. Children have been enjoying their new classroom furniture, sports and play equipment, and modern playgrounds. These projects have resulted in a marked improvement in the quality of environment for about 700 school and over 100 preschool children.

UNDP and USAID have also partnered with COAF on a project involving the capital rehabilitation of the Karakert Community Center. The center will provide the village residents with the space and resources to engage in various community development activities, as well as participate in classes and workshops on an array of topics, including English as a second language, business and entrepreneurship, and others. Work on the center is currently in progress.

Within the framework of the Model Cluster project COAF partnered UNDP and USAID to start the Shenik school and Community Sports Complex rehabilitation and refurbishment project. Over 200 students will find their healthy and modern school environment in the new reconstructed building in September 2007. The sport hall of the school will serve the entire community as Community Sports Complex and will bring revenues for coverage of the maintenance of the school building to ensure self sustainability.

The World Bank, through its Supported Health Project Implementation Unit, partnered with COAF to renovate and refurbish Karakert’s ambulatory care facility. The project, currently underway, involves renovation and modernization of the facility, as well as provision of equipment, medical supplies and a vehicle for emergency cases. This project is part of COAF’s larger goal to raise the community’s awareness of health issues and provide the villagers with professional, modern medical care.

In partnership with Human Dignity and Peace (HDP), COAF implemented its Agricultural Development project, whereby 156 families in Lernagog, Dalarik, Karakert, Myasnikyan and Shenik received hands-on training and technical assistance in backyard gardening. COAF also organized training in innovative, profitable gardening methods for the select group of farmers from these villagers. Through these projects, COAF has realized the income of 156 families, as well as increased the agricultural capacity of the beneficiary villages.

The World Bank Supported Water Sector Development and Institutional Improvements Project Implementation Unit and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) are supporting COAF in the reconstruction and repair of the irrigation water network, an important component in the rehabilitation of the Model Cluster villages. The completed reconstruction of the 4.5-km pipeline and currently in progress of a 3.74 km of the irrigation water network project in Dalarik and 2.89 in Myasnikyan villages. These projects will significantly increase the agricultural capacity of all three communities and its neighboring villages, as well as immediately benefit over 2,130 families, who will gain access to running irrigation water.

COAF has partnered also local municipalities of Lernagog and Karakert to built a community park in Lernagog and repair Karakert community roads. Over 2000 lernagog residents in coming spring will cherish in a newly fenced and planted young park, which will be furbished with a modern playground, waste baskets and benches. The residents of Karakert mention with a smile that the last 20 years they had not seen Karakert roads to be repaired. Today more then 7000m of the community roads allow school and kindergarten kids to reach their institutions without jumping over the ponds/water holes.

A local NGO in Lernagog, Hay Mshak, has partnered with COAF to establish the inter-village transportation business. More then 16,000 people in the Model Cluster villages feel safe and secure as the van is running around its route 4 times per day.

And the last but not least achievement of partnerships is with the Mission East and Future Generation NGOs on a project of creating 5 Children’s Club and Community centers in various building of 5 different communities.

COAF’s Continuing Medical Education in Pediatrics project, which included a 20-day training program for 24 pediatricians and family physicians of Armavir District, and later, certification, supervision and monitoring of trainees, was made possible with the support and participation of the Arabkir Joint Medical Center - Institute of Child and Adolescent Health (ICAH).

The Armenian Eye Care Project (AECP) was COAF’s key partner in the implementation of the Eye Care Screening and Treatment project (view photo gallery), which involved screening 633 school children and 54 adults in Karakert, follow-up detailed screening and treatment of 52 children at a specialized ophthalmologic clinic in Yerevan, and follow-up eye surgery and prosthesis for one patient. In spring 2006 the same project continued in six cluster villages, involving 1143 child and 433 adult beneficiaries. Among them 280 cases were diagnosed with eye problems and 86 referred to specialized clinics for follow-up traetment and diagnosis.

The Armenian Dental Society of California (ADSC) and COAF jointly conducted the Mobile Dental Care project (view photo gallery), through which 710 children were screened and 294 children were diagnosed and treated for dental problems. In addition to receiving urgently needed treatment, the children and youth of Karakert learned about the importance of dental hygiene and preventive care. In summer 2006 the same project, targeted 233 schoolchildren from Dalarik, Myasnikyan, Lernagog and Shenik communities.

COAF partnered with the Children’s Health Care Association (CHCA) on the Integrated Child Health Initiative, which involved screening of 689 children, women and expecting mothers, as well as an educational program on child health care and prenatal care for parents and expecting mothers. In addition, more than 60 percent of all screened patients received follow-up treatment on-site, and 67 children received follow-up diagnostics, treatment and surgery at the regional hospital and specialized clinics in Yerevan. This was only one of many unprecedented programs through which COAF provided medical assistance and health education to the residents of Karakert.

COAF and CHCA also worked together on a project titled Community Health Education and Promoting Healthy Schools. Within the framework of this project, COAF established health rooms, appointed nurses and provided preventive care (including oral hygiene, vitamin supplementation, anti-lice and anti-helminthes drugs) in Karakert’s school and kindergartens. In addition, the project involved educational programs on healthy lifestyles, child health and prenatal care and HIV/AIDS prevention. COAF also organized a celebration of World Health Day, and an exhibition of children’s art works called “Health as Children See It.”

COAF and Future Generation NGO, worked together in organization of the health care through Mobile Medical Teams and implementation of the Community Health Education and Promoting Healthy Schools project in three cluster communities. Pilot project on Revolving Drug Fund (RDF) is implemented in Lernagog community.

Within the framework of Community Health Education COAF together with Fighting against Infectious Diseases in Emerging Countries (FIDEC) implements “Microbac” health educational program on hygiene and vaccination, targeting elementary school and preschool children.

Since February 2006 COAF partnered with the Mission East on “A Healthy Start - Promoting the Rights of Disabled Children in Armenia” project, addressed to changing social attitude and health care practices as well as creating healthy environment for disabled children. So far, more than 70 children from socially vulnerable families of cluster communities were screened and diagnosed. Among them 26 children were diagnosed as disabled. The joint project is continued. The construction part, including establishment of rehabilitation rooms in the schools and preschools of target villages, serving as Children’s Clubs for the disabled, will be completed on September 2007.

In summer 2006 COAF partnered with the Children First NGO on Early Detection and Prevention of Reproductive Health Issues in Women, targeting more than 130 women and expecting mothers from 3 cluster villages.

In partnership with Counterpart International, COAF provided humanitarian assistance to the residents of Karakert by distributing clothes and shoes to more than 600 families and donating 30,000 tablets of methotrexate, an anti-cancer drug, to the Institute of Hematology. This project aimed to assist families and patients in need of immediate attention.

With the generous support of the Diplomats’ Spouses Association (DSA), COAF provided furniture, equipment and decorations to Karakert’s Kindergarten #1. The 35 children attending the kindergarten received one- and two-story beds, individual closets, linen sets and closets, tables, chairs, bookcases, and shelves for toys. COAF also provided office furniture and a kitchen stove for the kindergarten staffroom.

Together with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), COAF trained health care staff by conducting a series of seminars on the use of GSK’s new medications.

The Jinishian Memorial Foundation (JMF) partnered with COAF to implement a component of our project on Community Health Education and Promoting Healthy Schools by distributing books to reproductive-age women, informing them about a wide range of prenatal and child health care issues.

COAF and International Relief and Development (IRD) worked together to organize the delivery of 25–30 types of essential drugs to Karakert and Lernagog ambulatory care facility, providing much needed treatment to both children and adults. IRD provided also 4 wheelchairs to Lernagog disabled.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and COAF jointly conducted an HIV/AIDS prevention seminar for local migrant workers within COAF’s Community Health Education project. UMCOR also provides essential drugs and supplies to Dalarik and Myasnikyan health facilities.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and COAF together participated in Karakert’s inaugural ceremonies by donating T-shirts, school kits and educational materials to the school and kindergartens.

COAF in partnership with UNICEF is implementing Psycho-Social (PS) Project, dedicated to the protection of the children’s rights. The PS Center is established in Dalarik and serve to all six cluster communities. The project aims at raising public awareness on the child’s rights issues with emphasis on training parents and educators on the rights of disadvantaged or disabled children as well as providing psycho-social support to the communities. Currently the PS Center has 3-4 applicants per day. The local staff gets on-job training.

Through COAF/CARD partnership Youth Development program (establishment of youth clubs) is implemented in Lernagog and Argina communities. 20 youth from Lernagog and Argina received 2 sheep (total 40 sheep) and necessary supplies for care. The local Vet was elected as a Youth Club President. Each month youth are involved in training on animal anatomy, physiology and care.

In partnership with Heifer International COAF implements the project, the goal of which is to improve the social and economic conditions of target 20 families from Shenik through developed animal husbandry. The main objectives of the project are development of rural community, empowerment of community groups, knowledge and continuous and sustainable development of families in rural areas.

COAF has partnered with the Municipality of Lernagog in establishment of Cluster Press Club. The Cluster Press Club is training 13 local youth in mass media principles and legislation, the different genres of journalism, newspaper production, freedom of speech and responsibility, and computer literacy. The project will result in the establishment of a self-sustaining small business that will publish the Cluster Monthly.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Armenian Hospitals

It's moving along, not as fast as we want but nevertheless better than before. The educational classes for parents will be important, especially the pregnant mothers. They are learning that a child born with disabilities doesn't can be cared for, there is support and resources. The old way of abandoning their child in a hospital or orphanages is not the only option.

Vanessa Kachadurian-Time for sightseeing in between clinics

Here we are checking out the monastry near Shushi, N-K- no one should have any doubts this has been Armenian land for centuries after you view some of the centuries old monastaries and relics. Many were sadly destroyed by the Azerbaijani government in an attempt to rid the area of any trace of Armenian culture.

Here is a tour of some hospitals, checking on the repairs and where the money is being spent.

Vanessa Kachadurian - Everything from Pediatrics to Geriatrics

We saw it all in 5 days of jammed pack clinics from Pediatrics to Geriatrics. Many diagnosis was made and more importantly sample medication brought in. Armenia needs to get better with allowing more drug trade and dispensing of American drugs.
We didn't combine Dental check ups on this trip as the program is growing so fast we have opted to keep it seperate.
There is a special unit that treats the orphan children's dental needs and they learn of dental care. The problem is the old mind set of neglect, as a result most of the older people (those over 40) have multiple teeth missing. As you move away yerevan into the smaller villages and cities this becomes more apparent.
Education is the key, and knowing where and when to get help. Preventative medicine has never been taught in Armenia, it has always been a culture of go to the doctor/dentist when it is bad. Sometimes this is too late and the course of treatment is no longer available.

Vanessa Kachadurian- Medical Mission to Armenia

Here are some of the photos of the most recent Medical Mission to Armenia. It is growing every year, this year we had 2 physicians and 4 nurses with 13 medical students (19 total professionals) with 4 admin assistants.
Going to the remote areas of Armenia who don't have access to healthcare on a regular basis is rewarding, especially the Nargono-Karabagh (Artsakh) area.
We must keep this territory of Armenia strong, healthy and educated. It is important for it security and future.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Vanessa Kachadurian- When the family visits their child in an orphanage

Most of the parents and family visit their children in orphanages. It is hard, parents in Armenia need support of taking care of a child with special needs. They are stigmitized and isolated, in their care. It is socially and financially difficult.
Some families have abandoned their children at hospitals, they feel lost and alone. We are starting groups for these parents so they do not have to feel alone. There have been many successful stories of families that have kept their child, it is a struggle but they manage.
Reunion, when a family comes to visit the child in an is difficult for the child to process this. They don't understand forgiveness or abandonment, lets work to repair families and the social structure of Armenia.
Armenia will be stronger if they treat all their citizens with respect and dignity.