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VIVACELL donates over $100,000 in support of children with disabilities

© UNICEF Armenia/Hasmik Arakelyan
UNICEF Representative in Armenia Sheldon Yett (left) and Vivacell Company's General Manager Ralph Yirikian (right) holding a symbolic payment cheque at the event marking VivaCell's contribution of over $100,000.
YEREVAN, 2 July 2007 – VivaCell, Armenia’s leading mobile operator is joining UNICEF and the Ministry of Education and Science to support on-going efforts to include children with disabilities into basic education. VivaCell is donating 36,773,760 Armenian drams (over $105,000) to UNICEF to help ensure that children with disabilities in Armenia are able to enjoy their right to a quality education.

"VivaCell’s generous donation will help ensure that children who would have otherwise had difficulty going to school will be able to do so," UNICEF Representative in Armenia Sheldon Yett noted. "VivaCell, a signatory to the UN Global Compact, is showing, by example, how the private sector can use its resources for the benefit of children. We hope that other companies in Armenia will follow this company’s lead and demonstrate a commitment to improve the lives of children and families in this country." The Global Compact is a United Nations driven initiative to promote responsible corporate citizenship.

"We believe in the future of Armenia, and the future of Armenia is our children. Business has a responsibility toward the country in which it operates – to minimize, to the extent possible, the outcomes of social inequality between people and especially among children, and to ensure that all children of Armenia, irrespective of their social or health status, are provided equal opportunities to get a quality education and participate fully in the life and opportunities in the world around them. That’s why VivaCell is interested in this inclusive education project. VivaCell recruits individuals with disabilities and invites other enterprises operating in Armenia to do the same," said Ralph Yirikian, the General Manager of VivaCell.

This joint project will benefit children currently studying at eight inclusive schools in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, and in the province of Tavoush. Funds given by VivaCell will significantly ease children’s access to those schools through construction of ramps and provision of three specially equipped minibuses to transport children to and from the school. In addition, the project includes training for teachers in interactive, child-friendly teaching methods and establishment of resource rooms at project schools.

According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Issues, there are approximately 8,500 children with disabilities living in the Republic of Armenia. Although the country has 13 inclusive schools and five UNICEF-supported community centres that cater for the needs of 1,500 children with disabilities, many of these children still remain isolated from the society and excluded from basic education.

UNICEF established its presence in Armenia in 1994. UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to meet their full potential.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

About VivaCell
VivaCell is the leading Armenian mobile operator, providing a wide range of Voice and Data services. Since its launch on 1st July 2005, in a short period of time VivaCell has managed to build a nationwide network and a considerable customer base. VivaCell drives the development and offering of innovative mobile communications products, services and features in the Armenian mobile communications market.

For more information, please contact:
Emil Sahakyan, Communications Officer, UNICEF Armenia, Tel: (374-10) 52 35 46, 58 01 74, Fax: (374-10) 54 38 10, E-mail: esahakyan@unicef.org




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