NEW YORK – With over 80 years of service dedicated to the Armenian nation, the Verjine Gulbenkian Maternity Hospital has been a blessing to Syrian Armenians, and, in particular, to Aleppo Armenians. This was especially true for the scattered remnants of the Armenian deportees, who, after experiencing the bitter fate of the Genocide, were able to form new families on the hospitable soil of the Syrian homeland.
The maternity hospital became a place for childbearing which served all without discrimination — without attention to religious denomination or politics. Multiple generations were born in this maternity hospital and today they recall the great charitable work conducted there with reverence.
Unfortunately, due to the consequences of the Syrian conflict, the Verjine Gulbenkian Maternity Hospital, along with other Armenian institutions, was forced temporarily to close its doors. The Gullabi Gulbenkian Foundation’s maternity hospital is in a comparatively more peaceful geographical area in a quarter with a large Armenian population. On the other hand, the Armenian home for the aged was bombarded and experienced damage. Consequently, over the past few years the maternity hospital has been providing a temporary safe shelter to the displaced elderly residents.
On December 25, 2015, the board of directors of the Gullabi Gulbenkian Foundation announced to Aleppo Armenians that the Verjine Gulbenkian Maternity Hospital, a charitable institution, will once again return to its original mission, by reestablishing the first floor of its building as a hospital ward. Also, through the decision of the board of directors of the Gullabi Gulbenkian Foundation, while giving temporary shelter in its complex, it will continue to keep its doors open to the elderly until the resolution of this tragic conflict allows their return to the Armenian home for the aged.
Ohannes Ohannesian, the representative of the foundation in Aleppo, will initiate the preliminary work needed to restore the hospital to its original condition, so that it may resume admitting expectant mothers.
The reopening of the Gulbenkian Maternity Hospital will provide hope, security, stability and employment to the residents of Aleppo.