The Board recently approved a grant of $1000 for Women For Development NGO. see more
Thanks to the efforts of the Grants Committee, the Board recently approved a grant of $1000 for Women For Development NGO to renovate the kitchen in the community hall of Tsoghamarg village. Tsoghamarg is located in the Ashotsq region, 15 miles from Gyumri. Tsoghamarg has 119 households, a school, library, medical building, post office, and a community center. The community center was founded in 2011 by Women For Development. Meetings, workshops, family celebrations and other activities are organized in the community center. Last year, the events hall was updated by local volunteers through the financial support of Women For Development. This year, funds from Friends Of Armenia will pay for renovations to the kitchen: two windows, a door, wall repairs, a gas stove, lighting, tables and chairs.
In collaboration with our hardworking grants committee, we are happy to announce that we are fully funding Gyumri PCV Thong Do's project for the production and distribution of an audio book for the visually impaired. Congratulations Thong and Agate Center for Women with Special Needs NGO!
Congratulations to our newest grantee, Noyastgh NGO! see more
Congratulations to our newest grantee, Noyastgh NGO!
“Noyastgh” (Noah's Star) NGO was founded in Koghb, Armenia. It’s mission is to improve the lives of people with disabilities, help those who are socially disadvantaged, and provide support to their family members. Noyastgh NGO provides services to disabled residents of 18 communities around Koghb. Most of the villages serviced by Noyastgh are border villages with high unemployment and no opportunities for disabled and/or disadvantaged individuals. It is the only NGO in the Noyemberyan region that directly works with disabled and disadvantaged individuals and their families. Currently, individuals in this area that require physical or massage therapy, must travel as far as Ijevan or Vanadzor.
With the generous support of Friends of Armenia members, Noyastgh NGO will create a space for Koghb children and the disabled community to gather and interact in a structured environment. The space will be open 7 days a week and community members can use the space and equipment free of charge. The room will have two separate functions: a corner dedicated to physical therapy and massage therapy; and the larger area as an after-school activity room. Current PCV, Alissa Morson, will be working with Noyastgh NGO to carry out this project. Thank you for your service Alissa!
Friends of Armenia funds will be used to purchase a stationary exercise bike, massage pads, and massage balls.
With support from FOA, Bridge of Hope NGO hosted a summer camp. see more
From June 14th-18th, thirty kids aged 6-17 (20 with disabilities and 10 without) participated in a summer day camp. The group was split into three teams. Each team had different colored t-shirts for the duration of the camp (purple, white, and blue). Four student volunteers participated as well as three Peace Corps volunteers, as well as several volunteers for the Luys Foundation Yerevan who assisted in doing a few seminars. The children started each day at 10 a.m. outside with morning exercises and dancing, followed by art classes and interactive seminars and activities about healthy living until 5 p.m.. Two to three classes ran simultaneously and kids were in groups of 10 to 15. The smaller team environment allowed kids to make friends and overcome their shyness. Throughout the five days all thirty kids came on time without fail (save one who was sick one day). Kids without physical disabilities went out of their way to wheel the kids in wheelchairs from class to class, and to come up with creative ways of involving them in the sports games. For example, one boy decided to give up his free time playing dodgeball in order to hold a hula hoop so that his friend in a wheelchair could throw the ball through the hoop. The final day consisted of seminars and classes culminating in a final presentation for parents. Bridge of Hope staff put together a slideshow set to music and invited the parents (all mothers) for coffee and a conversation of the progress their children made in one short week. The mothers were truly touched and grateful.
In 2013, Friends of Armenia funded Contemporary Art Day Camp in Gyumri Armenia. see more
Contemporary Art Day Camp
Amount: 600 USD
Theme: Peace Thinking
Amie Park Wilson, Peace Corps Volunteer, `12-`14
Marine Hovhannisyan, City Research Center
Mariam Grigoryan, Nor Luyce Mentoring Center
Purpose of the Project:
The purpose of the Contemporary Art camp is to provide children with an activity during their summer break in Gyumri, while increasing knowledge of Contemporary Art through hands-on activities. The camp’s theme is Peace Thinking and while the children are learning about and creating art, the underlying themes of the camp will be social inclusion, tolerance, and global awareness. There are 3 long term purposes for the Contemporary Art camp. The first is to increase the Gyumri community’s knowledge and understanding of Contemporary Art. The second is to promote the Gyumri Biennale in 2014 and further in the future. Lastly, the camp will be turned into a camp curriculum that can be implemented annually in Gyumri and can be used by others throughout Armenia.
Genesis of the Project:
The underlying issues that are addressed by the Contemporary Art camp are as follows:
1. Low attendance at the 2012 Gyumri Biennale event in Gyumri
Low attendance was due to a lack of promotion of the event and a lack of understanding of Contemporary Art. This was determined by having a meeting with the 2012 Gyumri Biennale event organizers and discussing the event with community members. The art camp will address these two issues by introducing children to Contemporary Art and by increasing the promotion of the event through an annual Contemporary Art camp and an art exhibition at the end of the camp.
2. A lack of knowledge about Contemporary Art in Gyumri and surrounding regions
As stated above, a lack of knowledge of Contemporary Art was discovered through conversations with community members in Gyumri and with the Art Academy Director. To address this issue, the day camp will focus on Contemporary Art with the theme of Peace Thinking.
3. There are few activities for children to participate in once school is finished for the year
This underlying issue was determined by speaking with teachers in Gyumri, children from the orphanages, whom Nor Luyce Mentoring Center works with, and other NGOs. The camp will provide children with activities for seven days, as well as skills and a small amount of materials (such as pencils and a notebook of paper) to continue to practice creating art through the summer.
4. There are very few, if any conversations on Peace Thinking, which includes social inclusion, tolerance, and conflict resolution occurring in schools.
This was determined by discussing the issue with teachers and NGO workers who are working in the schools and know the school curriculum. This was also discussed with the Women for Development NGO, where they are working to bring conflict resolution information and techniques into the classroom. The curriculum that Women for Development NGO has created will help determine ideas and methods of including these concepts into the camp.
Goals and Objectives
Goal 1: To create a welcoming and interesting camp where children can explore Contemporary Art and their own creativity and critical thinking skills.
Objective 1: Create workshops that give children the opportunity to learn about Contemporary Art in a hands-on environment.
Objective 2: Provide a space where children are able to discuss sensitive topics such as social inclusion, diversity, tolerance, as well as express themselves through their art, in relation to these topics.
Goal 2: To teach children about Peace Thinking. The theme Peace Thinking includes: social inclusion, diversity, tolerance, and global awareness.
Objective 1: To teach Peace Thinking by having the campers participate in activities and create art that reflects these concepts.
Objective 2: Expose children to artists from all over the world and show art that reflects peace and peaceful images through PowerPoint presentations, videos, and examples of art work.
Goal 3: Create a Contemporary Art camp curriculum that can be implemented in other parts of Armenia.
Objective 1: Produce relevant workshops that can be used together in a seven day camp or separately for shorter workshops or lessons.
Objective 2: Evaluate our curriculum at the end of the pilot camp in Gyumri and determine what changes or improvements need to be included.
Objective 3: Promote our art camp curriculum among our networks in Armenia and distribute the camp to other interested individuals, teachers, Peace Corps volunteers, or NGOs.
Goal 4: To increase awareness of Contemporary Art and the Gyumri Biennale in Gyumri.
Objective 1: Host a day camp for seven days that focuses on Contemporary Art for 30 children, in two age groups 7-11 and 12-16, in Gyumri.
Objective 2: Organize a children’s Contemporary Art exhibition on the last day of the camp in Gyumri.
Objective 3: Promote the camp, Contemporary Art, and the Gyumri Biennale through social media (such as a Facebook group), email, and word of mouth.