More than 150 children ages of 7 to 17 attend Sunday School once a week, to learn about Christian values and to participate in Bible study—thanks to an initiative of the Fund for Armenian Relief’s Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP).
The Sunday school program is among BCCP’s “hobby groups” aimed at helping youth find positive outlets in a region that has few extracurricular activities to offer.
Gagik Grigoryan, a Sunday School instructor in the village of Verin Karmiraghbyur, explained how religious education is important for children. “We guide them in filling their hearts with God’s love, with love towards their parents, their homeland, and friends. We also help them learn about church feasts and holidays, traditions and customs of the Armenian family model,” he said.
The Sunday School classes are an opportunity for youth to discuss Christian ethics, family values, and civic and social responsibility. Students sharpen their minds in debate, test their talents in competitions, and entertain their families and friends through theatrical performances.
“Before I started attending Sunday School, I had decided that I would leave my village after graduating and pursue a career in Yerevan,” said 17-year-old Inesa Avagyan. “I thought my town had nothing to offer, but the Sunday School changed my perception about patriotism and love toward my birthplace. I will graduate from school in May and leave my village for Yerevan; but I’ll be back in a couple of years to help develop my community. I think I want to teach the kids in our schools.”
BCPP, funded by the Mardigian Family Foundation, supports six Sunday schools in the villages of Norashen, Choratan, Verin Karmiraghbyur, Movses, Navur, and Verin Tsaghkavan, all of which lie in the Berd Region of Tavush Province, near the border with Azerbaijan.