By Vic Gerami
It’s easy to focus on the negative with daily news of assaults on Armenia, Artsakh, and Armenians. But as they say in 12-Steps, we must not stay in the problem but get into the solution. Several non-profit organizations do just that. They help move Artsakh and Armenia out of their challenges, provide resources and support, and foster a better future. The list of these worthy organizations is too long, so I’ll cover a few that I know best and personally.
ArmeniaTools4Schools + Knights of Vartan
Armenia Tools4Schools, a 501©3 non-profit organization, is dedicated to helping the youth in the border regions of Armenia learn vocational trade skills for earning a living. Their projects contribute to the small towns’ economic infrastructure and agricultural land areas along Armenia’s border. The vocational/technical trade schools in the rural areas and border regions of Armenia and Artsakh need tools and equipment to teach students the basic trade skills for electricians, welding, tailoring, culinary, agricultural science, and machinery repair. Armenia Tools4Schools provides funding to purchase tools and equipment for vocational schools and renovate the facilities to train students. Providing youths with vocational trade skills increases their employment opportunities and contributes to the socio-economic development in the border regions.
The buildings in the town of Martuni, surrounding villages, and schools suffered heavy artillery bombardment during the October 2020 war. Four buildings at the Vladik Khatchadourian Vocational school were destroyed, two buses were blown up by drones while transporting passengers, and the school’s whole technical/material foundation was burglarized. Basic transportation infrastructure, as well as electricity and clean running water, were destroyed. The school’s buses were blown up by drones while carrying passengers on the road in the October 2020 war. The Knights of Vartan and Armenia Tools4schools coordinated their funding with the Ministry of Education and the school director to ensure the most pressing needs were funded. The Knights of Vartan also purchased a car to teach driver’s education, providing valuable transportation services to residents during the war.