The background The economic downturn in Armenia has left more and more families vulnerable. An increased poverty level has exacerbated existing problems. In the past few years, entire families have become unemployed and some have even lost their homes. Hopelessness born of social tension, worsening life conditions, and the inability to address primary needs have lead to significant increases in aggression, conflict, violence and abandonment.
The project Due to growing numbers of at-risk families, the Zangakatun Social Services NGO has moved to a new center in the Shengavit district of Yerevan and is expanding its program to answer this greater need. The Tufenkian Foundation, in partnership with Open Society Institute (OSI), is funding this initiative, which will benefit both the Shengavit and Vanadzor centers.
The center works together with parents to enhance the standard of living of their children by instilling in them values and civic awareness, improving their school work, providing activities that build their self-esteem, and attending to their psychological health. It also assists parents to alleviate conditions due to alcoholism, abuse, legal or health problems, and unemployment. During the week, the centers deliver one hot meal to beneficiary children daily.
Zangakatun’s program will serve over 151 families at its Vanadzor and Yerevan centers, an increase of 50% over last year thanks to the expansions in space as well as staff that were made possible by the new funding from OSI.
Goals Through the help of Zangakatun’s professional services, our program goal is to help families overcome poverty and the destructive behaviors that reinforce poverty. Zangakatun works to remove families from the vicious cycles of extreme poverty and support them in becoming active members of society. Zangakatun has a success rate of over 70%.
The Open Society Institute, a private operating and grantmaking foundation, aims to shape public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights, and economic, legal, and social reform. On a local level, OSI implements a range of initiatives to support the rule of law, education, public health, and independent media. At the same time, OSI works to build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as combating corruption and rights abuses.