Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP) distributions occur in the Shirak region twice a year. Recently, FAR completed its seventh distribution in the area since April 2008. This time staff once again visited two single-parent families, both in great need of support. Unfortunately, both families were filled with an inherent sadness and deprivation during our visit.
Daniel and Naira Hovhannisyan were 12 and 10 years old when they lost their father. Their mother Armine suffers from problems with her nervous system and her heart. The family’s only income is the welfare allowance they receive from the state, which is barely enough to cover their electricity and gas bills for their damp, cramped house. Daniel is in eighth grade. He previously attended Octet Music School in Gyumri, but quit after his father’s death from a blood circulation disorder. Naira, a sixth grader, still attends the Octet School.
Manik and Hyke Avetisyan are in a worse situation. Their father passed away from a stroke when the kids were 15 and 13 years old. Now Manik is a student at the Gyumri Pedagogical Institute. Without the CASP stipend she would not be able to study. Their mother, too, is unemployed and their only source of income is welfare and their father’s death allowance. Still, they are both modest and charming kids.
Thankfully, these CASP stipends can make a difference for these families and they will help them survive until the kids are 18 years old and able to find work on their own.