YEREVAN (Azg) — This year marks the 15th anniversary of the founding of the Sponsor a Teacher Program of the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) of United States and Canada in Armenia and Karabagh.
During the last 15 years, the project has raised more than $648,000 and reached out to 5,404 teachers and school workers in Armenia and Karabagh. Throughout this period, Maro Bedrosian, treasurer of the TCA Board of Directors of US and Canada, has headed the project. Letters of thanks to sponsors and donors have been mailed providing the names of the teachers they have sponsored, visits to schools have been documented and photographed, and articles have been written in various newspapers, including Azg in Yerevan; Abaka in Montreal, Canada; the Armenian Observer and Nor Or in California; and the Armenian Mirror-Spectator in Boston, covering the delegations’ visits to the schools. Once a year, the names of all donors are published in the above newspapers.
The Sponsor a Teacher Program began when the difficult economic situation of teachers working in Armenia’s schools after the collapse of the Soviet Union was brought to the attention of the TCA. The latter placed this issue on its agenda at its annual convention. It was reported that the teachers working in Tekeyan schools were struggling financially and thus were often forced to emigrate. The convention collectively adopted a motion to launch Sponsor a Teacher in Armenia to initially reach out to the three schools named after Vahan Tekeyan. At that time, teachers in the schools of Armenia were among the most poorly paid professionals in the country. In 2000, a teacher’s annual salary was $120 and now, since the involvement of the Tekeyan Cultural Association, the government has increased their salaries so that they make anywhere from $200 to $250 a month. The TCA Board of Directors raises funds and delivers them to the teachers through special yearly visits.
Former TCA Executive Secretary Kevork Marashlian in an interview with the newspaper Azg said: “When we started this program, the economic situation of teachers in Armenia was quite dire. And now it already has been 15 years that this philanthropic endeavor has been organized for the teachers and entire staff of the schools named after Vahan Tekeyan in Armenia and Artsakh.”
The project is administered in Armenia by Gayane Muradian, Representative of the TCA of US and Canada in Armenia, who distributes the funds.
This year three members of the TCA Central Board, President Dr. Haroutiun Arzoumanian, Vice President Edmond Azadian and member Hagop Vartivarian along with Marashlian were in Armenia during the disbursement of the funds. They visited the Yerevan Vahan Tekeyan School on November 2, accompanied by Tekeyan members from London, England, Mrs. Hratch Kouyoumdjian, Garabed Boyadjian, Jirair Kevorkian, Hagop Fesjian of Athens, Greece and Sima Arzoumanian of Montreal, Canada.