Tag Archives: children

More than 500 pupils from music schools in Gyumri, Vanadzor, Ashtarak, Abovyan, Sevan, Artashat and Yerevan were invited to a Europe Day classical concert with the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra. When the children arrived to Aram Khachatryan Concert Hall in Yerevan on 4th June, they were greeted by Ambassador Świtalski with whom they could celebrate their common love for music at the concert. . Representatives of the Armenian government, EU member states’ Ambassadors and representatives from international organisations also attended the concert.
13310333_1035358556518073_7966482787202323642_nAmbassador Świtalski opened the concert by introducing the vision of the EU: ‘66 years ago a great politician, Robert Schuman, had a vision, a vision of peaceful, prosperous, free and just Europe. We celebrate this day to commemorate the man and his vision, and we want to celebrate it together with the Armenian people. The celebrations of Europe Day have now culminated in Yerevan this weekend after five concerts in the marzes. This year we celebrate Europe Day in Armenia under the slogan of “Europe for Youth”. I am happy to have children from all over Armenia with us today – tonight they are our guests of honour. This evening is special because young talented Armenians will play European music. Isn’t this a great match?’
Music school pupils Sofia Vardanyan (violin), Diana Adamyan (violin), and Harutyun Melikyan (piano) performed during the concert together with their elder counterparts and all three pupils also played solo pieces.

On 1 June 2016, the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, attended the “Voices for Children” open air event organised in Lovers’ Park in Yerevan alongside Armenian state authorities, EU member state ambassadors, and the US Ambassador to Armenia.
Save the Children Armenia had organised the event to mark International Children’s Day. The occasion was also used to launch two new EU-funded projects: “Community-based Services for Children with Disabilities” and “Social Innovations for Vocational Education and Employability of Young People with Disabilities”.
ARS_5991During the opening ceremony of the event, Ambassador Świtalski was asked to make a wish for Armenian children: ‘My wish is very simple, dear children. I wish you lasting peace and love; I wish you to be aware of your rights. These are not small rights of small people, these are real rights. Enjoy your holiday!’
ARS_5979The Armenian Minister of Diaspora, Hranush Hakobyan, congratulated all the children present as well as those across the country: ‘Today we celebrate the most important festivity in the world; the brightest, most glorious, happiest day. Congratulations! I am so proud that, back in 1996, I was the one who put forward special legislation about the Rights of the Child in Armenia’.
After the brief formal opening ceremony, all the children and other guests were invited to enjoy a range of educational activities, discussions, mini-fora and performances by the Cross of Armenian Unity NGO. Volunteers from Save the Children informed guests about children’s rights through a special “child-to-child” methodology.
The event also featured an exhibition, which presented new and ongoing initiatives of Save the Children and its partners. Moreover, there was the launch of the aforementioned two new projects, several presentations, and interactive performances. The Media Initiative Centre, “Unison” NGO, “Paros” Chamber Choir and the “Miqayel Voskanyan and friends” band joined Save the Children and provided a pleasant and unique atmosphere throughout the event.

16-23-year-old 60 parentless children from childcare centres have become beneficiaries of the EU-funded “Equal personal development opportunity for parentless children” project. These children will be provided with the knowledge on fundamental constitutional rights, practical entrepreneurial skills, and professional orientation, to ensure their self-sustainability in the future.
The first introductory workshop of the project took place on 15 February 2016. Representatives from civil society and business community attended the event alongside with project beneficiaries.
ARS_5898Ambassador Piotr Antoni Świtalski, the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, made a presentatiօn on the EU’s support to promoting and protecting children’s rights: ‘I am happy that the EU supports this project, one that involves the Armenian government, to raise civic awareness, improve legal framework for parentless children in this country and to create employment opportunities for them. We are undertaking this project for several reasons. Firstly, the rights of children are the most important; indeed the young generation are of the utmost importance in today’s world. Due to demographic processes, the challenge to provide the young generation with the best possible start to adult life has acquired a new meaning and importance. Everywhere in Europe children are regarded as a chance to move society forward, and to allow society to meet the challenges of the future. This project is about educational opportunities, about jobs, and about creating the best possible conditions for start-up activities. The situation in Armenia is different than in other countries – there are fewer parentless children and the Armenian society has very strong family ties. Armenians should be proud that family values are so important here, and that family links help to solve problems for young people. However, there are still parentless children who need support, so there is much to do. We have to empower these parentless children to find jobs and create their own futures’.
ARS_5923Among the speechmakers was the Armenian Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Artem Asatryan, who first thanked the EU Delegation to Armenia for its continuous cooperation with the Armenian government: ‘The priority for us is that every child has an opportunity to live in his or her biological family; however, that is sometimes impossible. There exist good possibilities for guardians and caring foster families. So far, 220 parentless children have already received accommodation, and 250 others are on the waiting list. For me, the importance of this project is that it enables the parentless children to take their first independent steps in life and find a stable place in the society’.
After six months of training on how to establish and run small start-up business, the English language, constitutional rights and IT skills, twenty best graduates will be provided with internships in Armenian companies, and will receive small grants to start their own businesses based on the business plans they develop. The project is funded by the European Union and implemented by the “Centre for Socio-Economic Research and Analysis” NGO.
The project duration is 2 years (from May 2015-May 2017), and the EU contribution is €400,000.

On 3 February 2016 UNICEF brought together a large group of Armenian child-rights and diaspora experts in a Workshop on Innovative Approaches to Diaspora Engagement and use of Remittances for Children’s Wellbeing in Armenia. The workshop was funded by the EU as part of the “Mitigating social consequences of labour migration and maximising migrants’ involvement in local development” project.
ARS_3676Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, spoke to conference participants about the potentials as well as economic, societal and human costs of migration: ‘Armenia is a nation of migrants – more Armenians live abroad than in their country. This is not unique, but there are very few other countries where this is the case. The Armenian Diaspora is very visible; it has a very powerful political lobby in many countries; it is a source of foreign investment; it provides a cultural link between Armenia and the rest of the world; it brings very concrete and material benefits to Armenia in the form of remittances. However, let us be frank: migrant workers would bring greater benefit to their country if they would stay at home and use their skills in their own country. This does not only apply to Armenia, but also to many other countries around the globe. The EU wants to help the Armenian government to significantly reduce the migration flow abroad and develop Armenia for the benefit of the Armenian people. This land is too beautiful to allow young talents to search for a better future elsewhere’.
Ambassador Świtalski went on to discuss remittances in more detail: ‘While remittances from migrants and the Diaspora are key to sustaining many of the most vulnerable families, they are often only used for consumption and are not invested. It is important that these remittances, which currently comprise 20% of Armenia’s GDP, are used as efficiently as possible as they can contribute to growth, socio-economic development, and job creation, thereby having a beneficial impact on the lives of the most vulnerable families and children’.
ARS_3619The Armenian Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan spoke to the well-attended conference about the importance of engaging communities of Armenian diaspora and international experts in solving local challenges. ‘This conference would not take place without the EU-funded project. As part of the activities, some Armenian experts visited Ireland and we are pleased to host international diaspora engagement experts here in Armenia. The experts have already visited my Ministry and we had a very fruitful discussion, during which we shared our experiences’.
Conference participants spent the day discussing the potential of the diaspora and migrants to make more lasting and tangible contributions to social sector development in Armenia, and how they best support the most vulnerable children and families through child-focused reforms.
Tanja Radocaj, the UNICEF Representative in Armenia, discussed how Diasporan communities could offer support: ‘Diaspora Armenians and organisations can play an important role in strengthening gate-keeping mechanisms, such as daycare centres; in establishing new social services for vulnerable families; in supporting alternative family-based child care; in further developing integrated social services in the country; in promoting excellence in education and healthcare. All of these areas need support, and can have a massive knock-on effect on poverty alleviation, particularly child poverty’.
Two independent experts from Ireland and the USA, respectively, were invited to the conference to share Diaspora engagement strategies. The Conference and training was organised for the staff of the Armenian Ministry of Diaspora, staff from other line ministries and civil society organisations. Thematic discussions were also held with the Training and Research Centre of the Central Bank of Armenia and a number of other high-level stakeholders.
The visits were organised as a follow up to the earlier visit of an Armenian delegation to Ireland in October 2015 to study Diaspora engagement strategies for children and local development. The goal of the larger project, funded by the EU, is to promote the better use of migrants’ and diaspora’s financial and intellectual resources for the benefit of their communities and children in Armenia.

On December 22, the Delegation of the European Union to Armenia, together with the project “Your future looks great”, organised an event in Masis Medical Center dedicated to International Human Rights Day. During the event, women and child rights awareness training was held for mothers with 0-3 year old children.
The trainer, lawyer Gagik Sahakyan, talked in details about the rights of children in the family, in particular Children’s Rights within the European Convention on Human Rights, Child Protection Law of the Republic of Armenia.
“Your future looks great” is funded by the European Union with EUR 190 000 (AMD 102 220 000) and is being implemented by the “Swedish Support Medical Association” and “Trust” health NGOs. It’s a 2-year-long educational project for urban and regional populations with the aim to promote awareness of women’s and children’s rights.
The program started in June 2015. Since then, there have already been organised 223 courses with the participation of 770 mothers, 455 teenagers, 293 pregnant women and 181 elderly people.
Project Coordinator Susanna Harutyunyan said that there was a need for such trainings. “A new concept of rights protection has been established within the framework of the project, and Family Centers have been founded in seven regional clinics, in Hrazdan, Charentsavan, Abovyan, Ashtarak, Vagharshapat, Masis and Vedi, where already operational meeting rooms have been equipped with playrooms. Family Center is a place where women can exchange views, discuss their needs and get support from specialists to solve their problems. With the help of methodist educators, children can play, study painting, handicrafts and participate in various social activities in the playrooms, “said Ms. Harutyunyan.
Playrooms that have been renovated and equipped with the support of the project are being used not only by the children of mothers who attend the trainings, but also by children undergoing treatment in hospitals. Playrooms will continue to operate after the end of the project.