VAYOTS DZOR province, Armenia – After the loss of the Vahan Tekeyan School of Berdzor, Artsakh Republic, the Tekeyan Cultural Association of the United States and Canada (TCA) began a program of aid to the school’s staff and alumni who had suddenly become refugees. The program has been implemented in two stages so far, and is ongoing.
Through small contributions and mass funding, income-generating opportunities were created for the displaced families. TCA in association with a local NGO called Syunik Development has made investments in agriculture and beekeeping to create income or comforts for their beneficiaries. The recipients get assistance on the condition that, after a waiting period of two years, they pay back on an annual basis the equivalent in produced goods of 10% of the amount of assistance they have received.
The TCA Sustainable Assistance Project is coordinated and implemented by Arto Manoukian of Montreal, a TCA board member and monitored by the TCA’s Armenia representative, Gayané Muratyan, with the assistance of Anahit Kosakyan, the last principal of the Berdzor Tekeyan school.
Eight families were given bee colonies, hives, training and various equipment in the first stage in the plan, which has been described in a prior article in the Mirror-Spectator. Two excerpts from letters from Tekeyan School students in these families give a further idea of the effects of this assistance.
Syuzanna Ghambaryan, a seventh-grade student in the city of Jermuk, Armenia, and an alumna of the Vahan Tekeyan School of Berdzor, writes as follows.