Mer Doon to Celebrate 10th Anniversary with Special Events and Activities in 2016
ECHMIADZIN – On November 11, 2006, Mer Doon opened its doors to seven proud young girls with tremendous hope and potential who had outgrown the orphanage system. Now celebrating its 10th year of service to disadvantaged girls, Mer Doon is more vibrant and relevant than ever. It remains the only NGO in Armenia that provides a home for homeless girls, ages 18-24, who have nowhere else to go.
To kick off the 10th anniversary celebration, Mer Doon has launched a new website at www.Mer-Doon.com. Its fresh, bright, and upbeat theme reflects the true spirit of Mer Doon, and sets the stage for the organization’s next 10 years of service in Armenia.
Since 2006, Mer Doon has cared for more than 45 young girls by providing higher education, vital skills to transition into adulthood, and a loving and compassionate family environment, making them full members of society as well as honest and independent citizens of Armenia. For many of these young women, Mer Doon has been the first family they have ever known.
Commenting on this milestone, Chairman Stephen Ashekian stated, “Longevity is often quite correctly associated with integrity. A track record of proven service demonstrates that you have gained the community’s trust, and have tested achievable results. We are celebrating this milestone to underscore our consistent leadership in the social service sector in Armenia.”
“We warmly welcome Armenians around the world to join us in celebrating Mer Doon’s success and ask that they reinvest in our mission to strengthen our outreach efforts,” Ashekian concluded.
In honor of its 10th anniversary, Mer Doon has set an anniversary fundraising goal of $250,000. These funds will (in part) support a building project slated for completion this summer. The plans are to renovate the basement of Mer Doon’s residence in order to provide classrooms, an arts & crafts atelier, and much needed storage. With these new facilities, Mer Doon will have additional space in its main quarters to meet the overwhelming demand to assist more vulnerable teens.
Throughout the year, the U.S.- and Armenia-based Boards of Directors will be organizing many commemorative activities and events. At the same time, Mer Doon is forming an Advisory Board of distinguished Armenians who embrace the group’s mission, and believe that good, kind people should always support a good cause.
Special programs began in January with a new speaker’s program. Since the start of the year, numerous guests have come to Mer Doon with important messages about human trafficking, psychology, law, empowerment, art & design, and family and women’s rights.
The first speakers have included Eduard Hakobyan painter; Arev Petrosyan, famous artist and designer; Hasmik Sahakyan, director of the Women and Youth Development and Support Center; Lusine Mkrtchyan, director of the U.S. Embassy’s Mentoring Program; Koryun Nersisyan, prosecutor for the Armavir region and human trafficking specialist; Satik Isahakyan, Public Radio of Armenia; Naira Hakobyan, Ph.D., Dean of the International Scientific-Educational Center of National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia; Arzuman Harutyunyan, “Audio-Visual Journalists Association” president, director, and social advertising specialist, and Professor Davit Tumasyan, J.D., RA Investigative Committee’s senior investigator of criminal investigation.
In May, the U.S.-based Board of Directors will host a golf tournament fundraiser in New England. In the fall, a conference about global human and sex trafficking is being planned in Southern California. In Armenia, many exciting plans are underway, including a 10th anniversary video, a celebration in the Echmiadzin municipality, an arts & crafts exhibition in Yerevan, and meetings with different media outlets.
The history of Mer Doon started with Julie & Clement Ashekian, who began their pioneering work in Armenia after the 1988 earthquake, which left thousands of Armenian children without parents. They actively led the Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program and helped 18,000 children. Recognizing that conditions were grave in the orphanages as well, the late Julie Ashekian and Tigranuhi Karapetyan founded Mer Doon in 2006. They saw that once leaving the orphanages at age 18, young girls were at risk of the many evils on the streets with no family to guide or shelter them. From the beginning, the mission of the organization has been to educate and nurture, and to keep these very vulnerable girls, who have outgrown the orphanage system, away from trafficking and violence.
Mer Doon is located in Echmiadzin, Armenia. Visitors are always welcome! We are a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the State of Connecticut and a nongovernmental organization registered in the Republic of Armenia. Tax-deductible donations can be made by going to www.Mer-Doon.com and clicking on “Donate”. For information, please email [email protected].