ARTIK, Armenia—A new daycare center was officially inaugurated today in the town of Artik, in Armenia’s Shirak province, by “Family and Community,” a non-governmental organization. The new center, renovated by the Tufenkian Foundation, will provide daycare for children who come from vulnerable families.
Artik’s center became the fifth hub in the NGO’s map, alongside ones in Armavir, Metsamor, Noyemberyan, and Ijevan. The center opened its doors for the children of Artik due to a generous donation from Ralph and Armik Yirikian. The opening ceremony has united the residents of Artik as well as Ralph Yirikian, the Foundation’s executive director Raffi Doudaklian, Governor Tigran Petrossian, Member of Parliament Sofya Hovsepian, and other government officials.
The center is first of its kind in Artik and surrounding villages. For the current year, about 100 children will be able to visit the center after school hours and participate in various extracurricular classes and activities such as singing, pottery, drawing, and more.
“Such centers are significant for our society, as they keep children away from the streets and help them become good people and citizens. We are delighted and proud that children in Artik will now have such an opportunity,” remarked Ralph Yirikian, the primary sponsor of the construction. The center will operate in an old Soviet-era building that went through a complete reconstruction and renovation organized by the Tufenkian Foundation earlier in 2019. The municipality of Artik has provided the building for the center.
“We are trying to expand the network of such centers in Armenia, and we are glad that the decision fell on opening the new one in Artik, as Gyumri is the only city in the region that has such centers. Once again, we are thankful to our donors, the team that worked hard to make this center a reality, and, of course, we are happy for the children of Artik, who will have the opportunity to receive various social services from a team of expert social workers,” stated the Executive Director of Tufenkian Foundation, Raffi Doudaklian.
“Family and Community” currently runs four other centers in four towns of Armenia: Metsamor, Armavir, Ijevan, and Noyemberyan. The core idea in the philosophy of the organizatoin is the concept of family. “The environment that a family creates for a child leaves an impact on them [the child] for the rest of their life. We strongly believe in the values that come with the idea of family,” said Knarik Garanfilyan, the director of the organization.
After the welcoming speeches, the local children participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony, officially launching the operations of the center. Soon, the center will operate in its full capacity.
“Family and Community” NGO is one of the main beneficiaries of the Tufenkian Foundation. The organization implements programs for social and psychological support, empowerment of families, capacity building for the youth, identification, and development of their resources, development, and empowerment of communities, and organizes daycare for school-aged children. While working together, the lives of many children have changed for the better. The Foundation currently runs online fundraising for further development of the center.
Founded in 1999 by entrepreneur James Tufenkian, the Tufenkian Foundation has worked in Artsakh for over 15 years. Its on-the-ground efforts feature the promotion of resettlement, infrastructure, healthcare, and other development programs.