|© UNICEF Armenia/2010/Arakelyan|
|UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Maxim Vengerov and UNICEF Representative in Armenia Laylee Moshiri with members of the UNICEF Children's Chamber Orchestra.|
YEREVAN, Armenia, 28 February 2011 – Last week, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Maxim Vengerov, a world renowned violinist and conductor, announced the start of the ‘Every Child Needs a Family’ campaign during a master class held for several young artists from the UNICEF Children’s Chamber Orchestra in Armenia.
The campaign seeks to gain public support for the return of approximately 4,000 children to their biological families. The children are currently residing in special boarding schools and orphanages.
Supported by UNICEF and the Government of Norway and implemented by the Armenian Public Relations Association, the campaign is also geared to help the Government of Armenia with its implementation of child protection reforms, particularly its de-institutionalization strategy.
“I was born to a family of musicians. During my childhood I was surrounded by the care and love of my parents and grandparents,” said Mr. Vengerov. “Nothing and no one can substitute a family – the best place for a child to be and to develop.”
'Ensuring a child’s best interests'
The ‘Every Child Needs a Family’ campaign will feature a series of events and activities involving policy-makers, opinion leaders, the media, families and children.
“Apart from the importance of ensuring a child’s best interests, getting a child back to the family or keeping a child in foster care is less expensive than keeping a child in a residential care institution,” said Laylee Moshiri, UNICEF Representative in Armenia. “Maxim’s voice in support of the right of each child to grow in a family appeals to the hearts of the Armenian people and is sure to help UNICEF mobilize a lot of public support for the campaign we have just started.”
The UNICEF Children’s Chamber Orchestra, created in 2009 by UNICEF and the Spivakov Foundation in Armenia – and sponsored by Armenian mobile operator and Internet service provider Beeline – will perform a series of concerts as part of the campaign. The orchestra, which had its debut performance during the 20th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, comprises 23 children aged 10 to 16.