Thanks to Ayo!’s efforts and a surplus of funds from one of its previous projects, the FAR crowdfunding platform was able to fund the complete renovation and refurbishment of a home for Armenian orphans with special needs. Renovations included the installation of a new heating system, which will now enable safe year-round operation.
After raising a large amount of additional donations for its Vardenis Sunday School Project in 2019, which aimed to raise money to fund a heating system in St. Astvatsatsin Church’s Sunday School near Lake Sevan, Ayo! decided to partner with another local organization in need.
The “forever home” is run by The Jermik Ankyun Foundation, a local Armenian NGO which is part of the US-based organization Friends of Warm Hearth. It provides direct oversight and management of group homes for orphans with disabilities who have aged out of institutions because they are over 18.
The new, Ayo!-supported home, which is located in Armenia’s Ararat Province, has space for various types of therapy, as well as a handicraft workshop, for things like ceramics and embroidery, which residents can also try to sell. Psychologists, psychiatrists and art therapists work with the residents to help them overcome aggression and distress.
“We bought this building in February, however our donors, who previously pledged to give for the renovation were unable to help us due to COVID-19, so we decided to approach FAR and Ayo!,” said Foundation Director Alya Kirakosyan.
According to Ms. Kirakosyan, the building is important in that it can provide the inhabitants with an opportunity to both be productive and also provide a supportive living environment. “We try to enhance their capabilities so that they can find their place in this world,” she said. “Based on our experience, we can certainly say that it works and many people find their path to better self-expression.”
The home in Ararat Province is the third of The Jermik Ankyun Foundation’s homes, which has two others in Kotayk Province and in Yerevan. The three homes currently serve a total of 29 young people.