WATERTOWN — The Tekeyan Cultural Association Sponsor A Teacher Program, which has been helping teachers for the last 20 years in four schools in Armenia and one school in Karabakh, resumed its help to Karabakh teachers one year after the bloody 44-day war initiated by Azerbaijan and Turkey.
During the war, the unthinkable happened. The Tekeyan School of Berdzor, Karabakh, now lies in ruins. It is situated in the narrow corridor of Kashatagh or Lachin province. During the war it was used as a barracks for Armenian soldiers. At the end of the war, the Armenian population was evacuated and Russian peacekeeping forces controlled this area, except for around 100 remaining Armenians. They are permitted to stay in order to serve the Russian troops in various capacities, such as running shops or doing other supportive work.
The principal and teachers of the school are now either in Yerevan or various villages with relatives. The Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) of the United States and Canada is assisting and helping them find alternative income work, led by Arto Manoukian of Montreal, who initiated and implemented the “Sustainable Assistance” program for Berdzor refugees in Armenia by making investments in agriculture and beekeeping through Syunik Development NGO.
Sponsor a Teacher Program, led by Maro Bedrosian of Houston, Texas, raised enough funds between January and September of 2021 to help not only all four Vahan Tekeyan Schools in Armenia but also to 90 teachers of 5 newly located village schools in what left of Karabakh, namely the villages of Yeghtsahogh, Aghavno and Shushi District schools of Medz Shen, Hin Shen and Lisakor, through a non-profit organization called the Gurgen Melikyan Multichildren Family Foundation of Kashatagh. The 2021 fund raising was successful thanks to major donors of the Mesrob Fund, in lieu of flowers donations in memory of Nora Azadian, the TCA Detroit chapter and many other donors from the US and Canada. A total of $38,610 dollars was distributed in the past two weeks.
Between October 2 and 18, the funds were distributed and/or transferred to the teachers accounts by TCA Central Board chairman Edmond Azadian and member of the Central Board Mihran Minassian , who were visiting Armenia on assignment, TCA Armenia Representative Gayane Mouradyan and Gurgen Melikyan, who travelled to the five villages in Karabakh and handed personally to 90 teachers and workers enough funds to sustain them over the months of October, November and December of this year.
Boghos Aghabegyan, principal of Yeghtsahogh school said, “This kind of philanthropy by our brothers and sisters of the United States encourages us not to leave our village and open the road for Azerbaijan to conquer what left of Karabakh.”