Earlier this year, Narek, 5, and Hayk, 3, were enrolled in FAR’s Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP).
Ever since their father, Hovhannes, died from severe food poisoning three years ago at the age of 29, the family has been in crisis. With Hovhannes gone, along with the income he earned as a truck driver, the family can now only afford to live in a three-room domik (an old metal container) in Gyumri, which gets very cold in winter. The children’s mother, Taguhi, said that they have been on a waiting list for a new apartment for years now.
Narek likes to look through old photo albums to see pictures of his father.
“Narek was only two when he died but he clearly remembers him. A few times a week, he asks for the photo album and looks through our wedding photos,” Taguhi said. “Hopefully, we’ll soon have our own apartment; the kids often catch a cold in the domik during the winter,” she said.
With help from CASP Taguhi said she will now be able to cover Narek’s treatment for strabismus, or cross-eyes, for which he has to undergo treatment once every four months. “I take him to Yerevan for 10 days for specific vision therapy,” she said, noting that they have to commute every day the roughly two hours from Gyumri because they can’t afford accommodation in the capital, which is expensive and time-consuming.
The family lives off state benefits, which roughly total about $230 a month. Taguhi said she doesn’t work because she has to take care of the kids, however, she hopes to eventually be able to train and find work as a cosmetologist.
CASP will provide Narek and Hayk with annual financial aid until they turn 18.