By Natalie Grigorian
WASHINGTON —The Washington DC Chapter of the Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR) successfully raised funds to benefit orphaned Armenian children at the 20th Annual Alexandria Armenian Festival on June 2. The festival provides an opportunity to share Armenian culture with the local community, which takes place annually at the Market Square in Old Town Alexandria, Va.
Participants of the festival had the opportunity to learn more about the organization and its outreach programs that help orphaned children in Armenia. Volunteers from SOAR provided information about the orphanages the group supports and the child sponsorship program. Featured at the SOAR booth were works of art by orphaned Armenian children from Trchoonian Home orphanage in Gumri, Armenia. Since the 1989 earthquake that devastated many cities in northwest Armenia, Alexandria has supported Gumri as its sister city. In light of this special connection, money raised during the festival will directly benefit the children at Trchoonian Home orphanage.
At the festival, SOAR met with two Armenian sisters, Yevkine Karian and Dikranuhi Chakarian, who were orphans in Istanbul, Turkey around 1927. “It’s inspiring to see how these two sisters could go from life in an orphanage to creating a happy life in the United States,” said SOAR DC Chapter President Natalie Grigorian. “Such special encounters validate the mission of SOAR.”
The DC Chapter of SOAR partnered with Talene Dadian White, an Armenian children’s book author, who sold her books at the festival. A portion of the proceeds from book sales at the festival benefited SOAR.
SOAR hopes to expand its outreach in the Washington DC metropolitan area and continue to support the core mission of providing humanitarian relief to orphaned Armenian children throughout the world.