YEREVAN—Through funding from ArmeniaTools4Schools, the Berd Vocational State School in the Tavush region of Armenia received $25,000 in tools, equipment, and supplies from December 2018 through April 2019. This support re-establishes a welding department at the school, re-supplies the electrical department, and doubled the equipment in their sewing and tailoring department.
Founded in 1972, the Berd Craftsman State School was a top vocational education and training institution with functioning workshops and laboratories that provided training in many fields. Tuition is free at the school and the average age of students ranges from 16 to 20 years of age. It is the only vocational school in the Berd region and its graduates work in the 16 villages surrounding the town of Berd. After the transition to a market-based economy and increasing budget costs to the government due to the war, funding to the school declined and some departments became nonoperational.
The equipment comes at a key time, when enrollment at the school declined 33% between 2013 and 2018. As Principal Anna Avalyan explained, “We have good instructors to teach welding; we just don’t have the tools and equipment to teach that trade.” The new shipment of tools restores the welding department at the school. ArmeniaTools4schools is a North Carolina non-profit charitable organization dedicated to supporting vocational schools in Armenia. George Bournazian, President of ArmeniaTools4Schools in Raleigh, North Carolina said, “We’re proud to be helping the Berd Region rebuild and it starts with empowering the students by giving them the tools and equipment to start their professional careers. We look forward to continuing this program with more regions throughout Armenia.”
Knight Electronics in Dallas, Texas worked with ArmeniaTools4Schools to provide the equipment, tools and supplies at substantially reduced prices for charitable and educational purposes through their Knight Educational Products Division. “I have known George Bournazian for 15 years, and when he came to us with this plan—to provide support to Armenian vocational schools—we were ready to support him and the next generation of Armenian trade professionals,” noted John Knight, President of Knight Electronics.
This effort is in part, to help re-build economic infrastructure and strengthen the social institutions in the Berd region. After enduring 20 years of devastating war, the Armenian villagers along the Azerbaijan border in the Berd region continue to suffer deaths and injuries from sniper fire.