FAR's Annette Choolfaian Scholarship to Strengthen Healthcare



In 2020, FAR launched a new scholarship program in honor of our late board member and dear friend, Annette Choolfaian, a visionary in the field of public health.

The Annette Choolfaian Scholarship aims to support aspiring nurses and other healthcare professionals who come from low-income families.

Sixteen-year-old Gohar Manukyan from Armenia’s Ararat Province is one of the first recipients of the scholarship. Now in her first year at Yerevan State Medical College, she is studying to become a nurse.

“Three years ago, my mom, Liana, 45, had a stroke and was taken to the hospital. I took care of her, gave her her medications, checked her pulse, etc. I soon realized that I loved the process, particularly the process of caring for people, so I decided to become a nurse,” Gohar said.

Gohar lives with her mother and eight siblings in the village of Noyakert and makes a three-hour commute to school each day. As transportation is not very reliable, Gohar has to get up very early in the morning to make sure that she arrives on time for classes.

The family runs a small dairy farm and sells milk to make a living. They also receive state assistance to help make ends meet.

“I was sad when I learned the cost of tuition. My mother couldn’t afford it but the school dean told us about FAR’s new scholarship,” said Gohar, who applied, but admittedly without much hope because of the scholarship’s competitiveness. “I’m very grateful to my supporters for providing me with an opportunity to get an education. If not for this program, I wouldn’t have been able to go to college.”

“It is evident that nurses in Armenia play an important role in the healthcare system, especially in remote regions of Armenia and in Artsakh, where there is a great need for nurses. In many communities nurses often become the de facto healthcare providers for the population,” said FAR Healthcare Programs Director Dr. Hambardzum Simonyan.

The Annette Choolfaian Scholarship supports six students per year by covering their tuition fees, and, in some cases, offering them a living stipend as well.