UNICEF establishes youth houses in Vagharshapat and Armavir communities with financial support from the Government of Japan
Yerevan, July 28, 2022 – UNICEF and partners announced the official opening of two new youth houses in Ejmiatsin and Armavir today. The events were attended by UNICEF Representative Christine Weigand, Second Secretary for Economic Cooperation at the Embassy of Japan in Armenia, Rika Onodera, Head of Vagharshapat Community Diana Gasparyan, Head of Armavir Community Davit Khudatyan and President of Council of Gyumri Youth Initiative Center NGO Artur Najaryan. The youth houses were established based on UNICEF’s concept of safe spaces for children and adolescents and will support more than 700 adolescents if both communities.
“The Government of Japan has implemented various projects which contribute to infrastructure development and human resource enhancement for socioeconomic and regional development in Armenia. In particular, we focus on educational field in implementing assistance to Armenia, as we believe that children are priceless treasures and education is a foundation for development of a country. We sincerely hope that the youth houses established with the financial assistance from the Government of Japan will serve as an important educational center for the youth of Ejmiatsin and Armavir communities for a long time,” noted the Embassy of Japan in Armenia.
“Safe spaces are places where adolescents gather, participate in informal educational opportunities, try to solve community problems, learn to work as a team, obtain 21st century skills and more. We know that these activities help to increase resilience and play an important role in providing overall psychosocial support to adolescents. Importantly, these spaces are also designed to provide support with referral to additional, more specialized interventions and services,” said Christine Weigand, UNICEF Representative in Armenia.
The youth houses were made possible thanks to effective collaboration with community leaders and partners. The municipalities of Vagharshapat and Armavir selected and allocated the premises of the youth houses. Together with the Gyumri Youth Initiative Center NGO, UNICEF renovated and furnished, as well as supplied the centers with utensils, development games, learning and recreation materials for various ages of children. In addition, UNICEF and YIC trained new staff members for the centers on adolescent development, principles of working with adolescents and young people and provision of child-friendly services.
To ensure the sustainability of the centers, both communities included the operation costs of the centers, including staffing and utilities, in the five-year budget plan of the communities.
“We were excited to join our hands for this goal, because in our community, as in a number of other communities across Armenia, there was a need to support young people, create suitable educational opportunities for them, but there were no suitable resources. We are sure that starting today, this center will become a favorite place for our young people, and they will obtain new skills here,” noted Armavir community leader Davit Khudatyan.
“Strong and motivated young people are the backbone of our community, society and state, and every community should do everything possible to keep this potential in the community contributing to its development. This model provides a secure environment where we can motivate young people from school age. I believe that this center will become one of the important educational centers of our community forming responsible citizens,” noted Diana Gasparyan in her opening speech.
“Having many years of experience in the field of youth work, we can surely state that open youth centers create excellent opportunities for adolescents and young people to learn, express themselves, organize their free time. This contributes not only to their individual development and growth, but also, the development of their community,” said Artur Najaryan, Chairman of the Board of the Gyumri Center for Youth Initiatives NGO.
By the end of this year, UNICEF and partners will establish another youth house in Gavar town in Gehgarkunik region, with the support of the Government of Japan.
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.