YEREVAN (Hayots Ashkhar)–The Armenian Relief Society "Antog" Chapter held the grand opening ceremony of the Vanadzor Optical Center–August 18. This is the third optical center that has been established with the help of the Regional Executive of ARS of the Western US. The first such venture was started in Taline in 1992–and Antog’s first branch opened in 1995 in Yerevan.
While in Armenia on this occasion–ARS Western Regional Executive Chairperson Alice Madenlian–and Executive member Terry Minassian interviewed with a Hayots Ashkhar correspondent.
Madenlian explained that even though the privatization papers have not yet been processed–they are hopeful that the Vanadzor Optical Center will soon begin serving not only residents of Vanadzor–but also those of the neighboring regions.
Similar to the other two centers–this one will offer optical services free of charge–and on-site eye-glass orders. In special cases–if the Vanadzor Center is not able to immediately fill a prescription–the Yerevan and Taline centers will render services.
Because the purpose of the Center is to serve the people–those lacking in financial resources will be offered special arrangemen’s by the ARS–said Madenlian and Minassian.
Madenlian pointed out that as soon as the Center begins operating–it will serve the students of the special school for the optically-challenged.
"Opportunities for humanitarian assistance are many–but unfortunately–resources are limited," said Madenlian. However–while in Armenia–the ARS representatives were able to financially aid Artsakh’s Hartrut Dzamdzor and Khanadzor schools. The Western US ARS and Terry Minassian have donated clothing and nutritional products to 37 children of Vanadzor’s Sossi Home for Children.
With regards to future plans–Madenlian spoke about plans of opening an optical center in Karabakh–in addition to a psychological rehabilitation center. ARS psychological centers Gumri and Spitak already offer free therapy and counseling to survivors of the 1988 earthquake.