Fund for Armenian Relief typically supports about 1,300 children who attend kindergartens in Armenia's impoverished Tavush and Aragatsotn regions through its two childhood malnutrition initiatives. Both projects enable children to access free and nutritious meals at school, as well as raise greater public awareness about the importance of good nutrition amongst local families and school staff. They have made positive impact over the past couple years, including by lowering the anemia rate of the population of children who benefit.
With schools still shuttered in Armenia, this month FAR started delivering dry food packages to the children who normally receive their meals through these projects. Roughly 1,200 children in 19 communities in the Tavush Region and in neighboring Ijevan, along with nearly 120 children from Aragatsotn, have received packages that include lentils, rice, pasta and oil, along with some recipes for healthy dishes.
Arev Melkumyan from Aygedzor village in Tavush has two children, Areg, 2, and Nane, 5. “It’s a big package, which is enough for a whole month,” she said. “My children adore the kindergarten meals. I have been provided with the kindergarten’s recipes so I can make various dishes with the proportions of carbs, proteins and vitamins in every dish. This balanced food is essential for their growth and this is an essential support for us. There’s also an added psychological support—the feeling that we are not alone, and that you care for us."
The nutrition component of FAR’s Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program assists children in the Berd Region of Tavush Province, and its Transforming Children’s Health and Development Project assists children in Aragatsotn Province. FAR will continue distributing the food packages every month until Armenia’s schools reopen.