Sunday, June 26, 2011


June 24 2011

"Since 2006 the project for unloading the institutions that protect and care of children has been developed and implemented in order to unload the institutions and to prevent the children's access to those institutions; since 2008 until now the "Foster family "program is being implemented. Since 2008 35 children received care in foster families." This is an excerpt from a letter that was signed by Minister of Labor and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia Arthur Grigoryan. The letter contains a number of questions and answers that refer to the activities of orphanages and other fostering institutions. The questions were posed by the member of the
"Heritage" Faction Anahit Bakhshyan.

It is pretty easy to say why particularly this part was selected from the letter of the Minister. We had noticed some discrepancies in the numbers presented.

Thus, it was just one month ago, on May 16, that presented an interview with Ms. Lala Ghazaryan, the Head of family, women and children issues department within the Armenian Ministry of Labor and Social Issues. Ms. Ghazaryan presented in details the role of the foster family and mentioned that, "Today, for example, we have 23 such families, where 25 children live.

Note that before this program entered under the full control of the state in 2008, it was being implemented by the United Nations Children's Fund / UNICEF /, since the mentioned period not a single child was given to a foster family. In the same time it should be noted that the state has adopted the policy of unloading the orphanages and ther foster institutions, however this particular version, which is considered one of the effective ways of the above mentioned policy,
does not work.

Continuing to quote the Minister's answers addressed to A. Bakhshyan, let's focus our attention to the fact that, as A. Grigoryan says, "according to the statistics, as a result of the implementation of the project the number of children in orphanages has decreased in recent years due to state policy."

Mrs. Bakhshyan, citing in the letter addressed to the Minister the results of the research presented by the UNICEF recently, mentioned:

"The transportation and placement of children in foster family can be savings for the budget. For example, by the data of 2009, in 8 orphanages of the republic the annual expenses of one child in average makes U.S. $ 5 176; for 905 children 4 .684.017$ from the budget were
provided. While presenting that research was also pointed at the fact that only 25 children were placed in the foster families. And this in case when using the new funding guidelines more children may be directed to the foster families."

In response to this Minister Grigoryan wrote: "The foster family is one of the ways of replacement of children who are left without parental care; however the experience shows that problems arise between foster and biological parents of the children that are given to the foster parent families from the orphanages, and that is not within the child's interests."

In other words, except for this quote, Minister A. Grigoryan doesn't refer to the question of the deputy whether the displacement and placement of the children into foster families may serve savings for the budget.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

All-Armenia Fund once again reconstructs Stepanagert retirement home

At the beginning of the Millennium, the Stepanagert retirement home had the good fortune of receiving the leftovers of a $1 million gift from Louise Simone Manoogian, via the AGBU, from the construction of Alex Manoogian Street. Due to the AGBU closely monitoring and reviewing of work that had been done, the Artsakh government informed the donor that the street cost considerably less than what they had estimated. They asked the donor if they could use the remainder (from what I member Louise telling me, it was $400k) for the renovation of the Stepanakert house for elderly people (see:, to which the donor agreed. 

Now we fast-forward to today where we find that once again, reconstruction work is being done to the Stepanakert retirement home. This time, it's a $400k gift via the All-Armenia Fund, from a Moscow-based industrialist and co-financing by the government of Artsakh. 

My question is, why is there a need to once again reconstruct/renovate the Stepanakert retirement home? Clearly back in the day, $400k, which would equate to at least $1 million today was enough to replace the restrooms, plumbing system, and cafeteria. Was the work not done correctly 10 years ago by the Artsakh government that it is now in disrepair? 

One other thing that caught my attention in the recent story is that they claim that two wings of the home were last upgraded in 1988. I have to ask, were these wings not worked on in 2001, when the AGBU gifted $400k for the renovation of the facility?

Anyway you look at it, someone needs to answer these questions and look into what was done then and what is being done now, since something does not seem to add up.

Reconstruction of Stepanakert Retirement Home Underway

12:14, June 20, 2011
The Hayastan All-Armenian Fund has launched extensive renovations of a landmark Artsakh institution, the Stepanakert Retirement Home. Currently the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund is carrying out the preliminary stage of renovations at the Stepanakert Retirement Home.
The large-scale project was initiated by a benefactor of the fund, Moscow-based industrialist, a vice-president of the National Olympic Committee of Armenia Armen Shakhazizyan, who has donated U.S. $400,000 for its realization, and is co-financed by the government of Artsakh.

The two wings of the Stepanakert Retirement Home were last upgraded in 1988. Commenting on the critical need for a total overhaul, Irina Sargsyan, the home's director, said: "The restrooms, plumbing system, and cafeteria are in a particularly bad shape. We do our best to compensate for the lack of creature comforts, providing our seniors with attentive care and treating them with utmost affection and respect. I am confident that, once the renovations are complete, the Stepanakert Retirement Home will become for our seniors not a so-called last stage, but a wonderful environment where they will enjoy a well-deserved retirement."

"In addition to contributing $300,000 toward Artsakh water-infrastructure initiatives at our Moscow Gala, Mr. Shakhazizyan, founder and CEO of the Luding group of companies, has gone on to make a project-specific donation, seeking to help elderly individuals in Artsakh live a more dignified life," said Ara Vardanyan, executive director of the fund.

The only one of its kind in Artsakh, the Stepanakert Retirement Home accommodates 100 seniors, many of whom have physical disabilities. In addition, it provides supportive services to some 150 seniors at their residences.