Marguerita Doudaklian with Emil in Akner (photo Brandon Balayan)

Armenian State Symphony Orchestra Donates to UNICEF for Refugees

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YEREVAN — The Foundation for the Support of the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra announced on February 27 a donation of $12,000 to UNICEF Armenia in support of its humanitarian work for refugee children. Led by UNICEF Armenia Ambassador Sergey Smbatyan, the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra raised funds for UNICEF through seven concerts from November to December 2023, UNICEF Armenia said in a press release.

Through this contribution, refugee children with disabilities will benefit from multipurpose pharmacy vouchers. Each voucher, valued at 25,000 drams ($60), will allow families to choose and purchase the essential pharmaceutical items that their children require. This approach not only ensures flexibility but also respects the unique needs of each child, allowing families to make decisions based on their specific healthcare and rehabilitation priorities.

Smbatyan expressed the urgency of addressing the immediate needs of refugee children, stating, “While we consistently advocate for shaping a brighter future for children, the current reality demands our immediate attention to their present. Our support is particularly vital for the most vulnerable refugee children, who, having overcome numerous challenges, now require the care and warmth of each and every one of us.”

UNICEF has been providing support to refugees arriving in Armenia since day one, including much needed mental health and psychosocial support, medical supplies and equipment, social protection and child protection services, and much more. Ahead of winter season, funded by the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund and European Investment Bank, UNICEF, in cooperation with the RA Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and Armenian Progressive Youth NGO, started to provide 25,000 dram clothing vouchers to all refugee children aged 0-9 (inclusive), as well as to all refugee children with disabilities. In addition to clothing vouchers, all refugee children with disabilities will now also benefit from pharmacy vouchers, addressing not only their essential clothing needs but also facilitating access to necessary medications and healthcare supplies.

“UNICEF extends its heartfelt appreciation to the Foundation for the Support of the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra and National Ambassador Smbatyan as well as to everyone who attended the Orchestra’s concerts, to its musicians and guest artists, as well as to private sector parties who have contributed to this campaign. This collaboration empowers us to expand our existing humanitarian support, reaching out to a greater number of refugee children, with a particular focus on those who are the most vulnerable. UNICEF has been there before, during and after humanitarian emergencies during the 30 years of our work in Armenia, joining hands with our partners to support all children in Armenia, and we will continue to do so,” emphasized Christine Weigand, UNICEF Representative in Armenia.

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