FAR recently delivered support packages of food and hygiene supplies to 82 families in Ararat, Aragatsotn, Kotayk and Tavush provinces, as well as in Yerevan.
These are families who’d previously been provided with outreach services from the FAR Children’s Center. Many of these parents lost their jobs at the start of the government lockdown and have more than two kids.
Food packages included, among other things, flour, rice, buckwheat, sugar, a variety of pastas, lentils, oil, as well as facial masks, hand sanitizer, soap, dishwashing liquid, and laundry detergent.
They benefitted women like Alvina Petrosyan, 37, who is mother to Arkadi, 16, Anzhelika, 14, and Agnesa, 8. Five years ago, Alvina left her abusive husband and came to Yerevan from Syunik Province. After years of witnessing their mother’s constant abuse, the kids had developed physical and psychological problems, and some even have to undergo therapy in Yerevan in order to recover.
Alvina has since been juggling two to three jobs to make ends meet. Things got so difficult that, two years ago, she brought Agnesa to the FAR Children’s Center, where she stayed for three months.
“I used to work from 8:00am to 10:00pm every day. Arkadi and Anzhelika were at school and there was no one to look after her,” said Alvina. “At the Center, Agnesa was provided with the support I wasn’t able to give her at the time. I would come to see her every morning before work and would take her back home every Friday. She felt good there. She made many friends, many of whom she still remembers,” said Alvina. Agnesa is now in her second year of school.
After the start of the lockdown, Alvina lost her job as a cleaner at one of Yerevan’s fitness centers, and was unable to find another one. Over the past two months, she has had to buy food on credit from the local grocery stores to feed her children. When she finally ran out of oil, flour and pasta, she was afraid to go back to the stores because of the debts she’d accumulated.
“When Rima, the Center social worker, called me a few days ago and told me to grab my passport and come pick up the support package, I was as happy as ever. That very same morning we had nothing to eat and I was anxious—no job, no food and utilities to pay. It was too much for me,” she said. “I couldn’t even afford to buy sanitizer, so I mixed vodka with water and asked the kids to clean their hands with it. I only had two masks, which were both torn because I would wash them every time I wore them; I was so happy to see a mask in the package! Тhank you so much for your generosity.”
Additional support to Alvina and the other 81 families was made possible by a donation from The Mardigian Family Foundation.