UNICEF and Gradarak establish a child-friendly center in Dvin with the support of the Government of Japan
30 July 2022
UNICEF and the Embassy of Japan in Armenia summarize the results of emergency assistance from the Government of Japan for children and adolescents in Armenia.
UNICEF and Gradarak Educational and Cultural NGO have joined hands to establish a child-friendly center in Dvin settlement, Ararat marz with the support of the Government of Japan. The center will serve as community library with learning resources and games, and as safe spaces to provide children and adolescents with psychosocial support and child protection services, if necessary.
“In any society, children are the most vulnerable group, especially this becomes more serious in times of crisis for the country, such as conflict and epidemic, therefore ensuring the safety and well-being of children is a priority for any country. We are pleased to see that this assistance has served for the improvement of healthcare system and education of vulnerable children and adolescents in five regions of Armenia. I would like to emphasize that the Government of Japan will continue to support the country in its path of achieving sustainable development,” said Mr. Masanori Fukushima, Ambassador of Japan to Armenia.
This was made possible thanks to effective collaboration with Dvin municipality that provided the space for the centers and also invested 2,500,000 Armenian drams in the renovation works. After consolidation of communities in the Ararat marz, Dvin settlement is now part of Artashat consolidated community. The latter will cover the running costs of the center to ensure the operation of the community-based center, which will serve around 450 children, adolescents, and young people annually. Together with the Gradarak Educational and Cultural NGO, UNICEF renovated and furnished, as well as supplied the centers with a wide variety of books, utensils, development games, learning and recreation materials for various ages of children.
“Every community should be equipped with a network of multidisciplinary services for children, adolescents and youth. UNICEF has worked in this direction during our previous five-year country programme, and we continued to do so amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and in light of the humanitarian situation and needs around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We will continue to support communities throughout Armenia within our current five-year country programme to improve the existing services for children and adolescents and provide them with opportunities to learn and develop in a safe environment,” said Ms Christine Weigand, UNICEF Representative in Armenia.
“Gradarak has already established over 5 community libraries across Armenia with the purpose of making learning accessible to all children and inspiring them to continue learning, reading and developing in their free time. Our partnership with UNICEF brought new meaning to this mission and we are pleased that these two centers will also operate as safe spaces, whenever there’s a need. We are also grateful to our partner architectural and design studios for their pro bono support in the conceptualization and design of both spaces,” noted Ms Arusyak Zeynalyan, Co-founder and CEO of Gradarak educational and cultural NGO.
UNICEF supported the training of all seven Gradarak-type librarians/coordinators, including those established in the past, to capacitate them with skills necessary to safely work with children and adolescents and help them organize interactive activities, such as theater plays, drawing classes, movie screenings, book clubs, training and workshops of interest, as part of psychosocial support services, supported by the Government of Japan.
As part of the larger support from the Government of Japan, starting from February 2021, UNICEF and partners reached over 35,000 children and adolescents and their families in Armavir, Kotayk, Ararat, Vayots Dzor and Syunik, including from Nagorno Karabakh with a variety of services. In particular, the educational and sanitary conditions of 15 schools were improved, safe spaces for children were established in 5 communities, more than 3,000 young people received a special course on basic life-saving skills, more than 100 teachers and 1,400 medical workers were trained, and 17 regional health facilities were provided with medical equipment and essential supplies.