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CASP’s Spring 2011 Stipends Distributed in Javakhk.

Javakhk is a region of Georgia highly populated by Armenians. It is rich in tradition, history and heritage. Here, the people are proud. They have a sense of dignity and willingness to live peacefully with the Georgian people, while contributing to the betterment of the country.

Recently, FAR staff traveled to this area to distribute the spring stipends donated by the Women’s Guild Central Council of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) for the Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP).  The trip also provides a chance for staff to get to know the beneficiaries, get familiarized with the social situation in the region, and discuss possible areas for cooperation. Currently, 100 parentless children from Javakhk are included in the program; 38 children are on the waiting list.

Our conversations with beneficiaries and our home visits enabled us to better understand the numerous social and educational problems that they must live with. Still, many were optimistic.

Armenians in Javakhk are mainly involved in vegetable farming (primarily cabbage, potatoes, carrots) and animal husbandry. Due to lack of employment opportunities, the majority of men leave their homes to seek temporary jobs in Russia.

Timewise, our stay in Javakhk coincided with the visits of the Armenian Ambassador to Georgia Hovhannes Manukyan and Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Georgia Bishop Vasken Mirzakhanian. We had a brief talk with them and presented the purpose of our visit as well as the goal of the program.

Distribution of financial aid took place in two locations, the Surb Khach church in Akhalkalak, and St. Sargis church in Ninotsminda, with participation of the Reverend Father Babken Saslbiyan, Vicar general of the Armenian Diocese of Georgia in Javakhk, Father Tatev Maroukian and Father Armash Poghosyan. The process started with a prayer. It was nice to see how the children said the Hayr Mer. This is one of the ways to preserve identity. As Father Babken told us, there is a Sunday school at the Surb Khach (Holy Cross) in Akhalkalak. Children come for different hobby groups – puppet theatre, choir, drawing, computer classes, Bible classes, etc. Preparation activities were in process to organize a summer camp when we were there. The camp is becoming a tradition: over 200 children enjoy camp activities in the daytime and go back to their homes in the evening. Our visit was covered by two local TV channels, too.

On June 14th, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and the Ilya II, Patriarch-Catholicos of Georgia will be meeting in Akhalkalak. The Armenians of Javakhk are hopeful that the meeting will promote the solution of a number of acute social, education and economic issues.


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