UNICEF and Gradarak establish a child-friendly center in Aghavnadzor with the support of the US Government
Gradarak Aghavnadzor concludes emergency assistance for children and adolescents in Armenia by UNICEF and the US Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM)
YEREVAN 27 June 2023 – UNICEF and Gradarak Educational and Cultural NGO have joined hands to establish a child-friendly center in Aghavnadzor settlement, Areni community of Vayots Dzor marz with the support of the United States Government. The center will serve as a community library with learning resources and games, and as a safe space to provide children and adolescents with psychosocial support and child protection services, when necessary.
The Gradarak center in Aghavnadzor was made possible thanks to effective collaboration with Areni municipality that provided the space for the center and invested 5,000,000 Armenian drams in the renovation works. The municipality of Areni will also cover the running costs of the center for the future, ensuring that it serves around 300 children, adolescents, and young people annually. Together with the Gradarak Educational and Cultural NGO, UNICEF renovated and furnished, as well as supplied the center with a wide variety of books, utensils, development games, learning and recreation materials for various ages of children. UNICEF also supported the training of librarian-coordinators in fundamentals of working with various age groups of children, developing and leading interactive activities for children, such as theater plays, drawing classes, movie screenings, book clubs, training and workshops of interest.
“At UNICEF, we believe that each community should have a network of multidisciplinary services for children from the young age to adolescence that can provide them with a safe and child-friendly environment to come together and engage in educational activities, read, play, have fun and work on joint projects to help their community prosper and grow. This center is an important example of collaboration between many partners to help establish a quality service for children,” said Ms Christine Weigand, UNICEF Representative in Armenia.
The establishment of Gradarak Aghavnadzor concludes UNICEF and PRM efforts to deliver multi-sectoral assistance to children and families in refugee-like situation in Armenia through improving learning environments and water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, enhancing access to social protection services, and providing care and protection for vulnerable children and their families.
“As the humanitarian bureau of the State Department, PRM provides protection, easing suffering, and resolving the plight of persecuted and forcibly displaced people around the world. We do this by coordinating humanitarian policy, providing life-sustaining assistance and working with multilateral organizations such as UNICEF, to promote best practices in humanitarian response. Through this programme with UNICEF, we were able to reach thousands of children and caregivers, providing them with essential necessities, basic services and protection, as well as enabling inclusive access to other services, while also helping Armenia build experience in new means of humanitarian response, such as cash support or vouchers,” said Ms. Renee Lariviere, Regional Refugee Coordinator, US Department of State.
From 2021-2023, UNICEF renovated 17 bathrooms in five schools in Syunik and provided them with new furniture, as well as provided cash support to 3,159 children and their families displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh and settled in Armenia. Besides establishing Gradarak Aghavnadzor, UNICEF renovated five child and family support centers under the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs across Armenia, provided the center in Kapan with necessary materials and equipment, as well as renovated and refurbished one support center serving children in Yerevan within the premises of Fund for Armenian Relief Child Protection Center. Altogether, these improvements have resulted in greater and more inclusive outreach to and better support to vulnerable children and their families.
Psychosocial services have been one of the paramount needs to be addressed. Within this programme, UNICEF was able to reach 17,000 children and 5,000 caregivers, providing mental health and psychosocial support through individual and group therapy. Together with Parenting School NGO, UNICEF launched an online course on positive parenting, completed by 700 caregivers. Finally, in partnership with the Public Television of Armenia, UNICEF developed and aired nationally 16 episodes of the Healthy Lifestyle show focusing on mental health and positive parenting.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.