OAKLAND, Calif. — On Saturday, November 15, the Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA) San Francisco affiliate once again held a memorable event at St. Vartan Armenian Church here, bringing together its members that continually have supported the young organization over the last three years.
Laura Dirtadian, an AIWA SF Executive Committee member, was mistress of ceremonies and kept the attendees’ spirits up throughout the event with her welcoming and personal way of conducting the evening.
The president of the affiliate, Gaiane Khachatrian, welcomed the guests and briefly updated the affiliate’s supporters on AIWA SF’s ongoing initiatives and future plans. She highlighted the organization’s continued efforts of empowering the disadvantaged teenage girls of Mer Hooys program at the Nakashian Children’s Support Center in Yerevan, through offering them after school educational programs focused on English language, computer science, and comprehensive health education for teens at risk. In 2014 the organization expanded its reach by offering after school English classes to youth at Dsegh Village School, as well as to children with special needs at Bridge of Hope in Dilijan, and the staff members working at the center. Along with the educational opportunities offered to the Armenian youth in the country, AIWA SF also continues to empower professional young women in the country through creating employment opportunities for them to teach in these programs.
In its efforts to help young women entrepreneurs develop strong business skills to be able to create, grow and sustain their businesses, AIWA SF continues to partner with the Homeland Development Initiative Fund (HDIF) in pursuit of offering professional training opportunities to female business owners coming from 10 regions of Armenia to participate in wide range of professional seminars focused on accounting/business taxation, financial management, and marketing/media relations. In addition, AIWA SF continues to support the growth and development of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (WEP), an umbrella project for AIWA, led by the American University of Armenia, designed to teach business management skills to women entrepreneurs in the country.
The President highlighted that since its inception AWIA SF had a vision to address the healthcare improvement through knowledge advancement in rural Armenia, where the need is always greater. Despite the challenges that the young organization faced initially, that vision had finally became a reality. Three doctors serving on the executive committee of AIWA SF, Doctors Ani Tajirian, Hasmik Arzumanyan and Kohar Der Simonian, travelled to Armenia in October to carry out a pilot project in collaboration with the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF). The project was designed to carry out health education sessions for the medical field professionals in the Baghramian and Talin regions of Armenia. “Our trip was a success and left all three of us actively encouraged to remain engaged in working to improve health care delivery and education in Armenia,” remarked Kohar Der Simonian, AIWA SF Executive Committee member, who serves as Assistant Clinical Professor in both the departments of Family and Community and Obstetrics and Gynecology at UCSF.