In April, the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) stepped up its efforts to combat the COVID-19 crisis in rural Armenia. Due to the rising number of coronavirus cases, the lockdown, and the limited economic activity, COAF saw an urgent need to lend a helping hand to its beneficiary children and their families in need.
In addition to the outreach programs implemented in partnership with its European counterparts, COAF organized a fundraising campaign on social media, aimed at raising $50,000, to help rural Armenian families stay safe, be well-informed, and overcome the social-economic hardships caused by the pandemic.
According to COAF research, around 20 percent of the 1,000 COAF-beneficiary households in the Lori region were directly affected by COVID-19 in terms of temporarily or permanently losing their source of income․ The largest segment was the migrant workers (10 percent), who could not leave the country as a result of the lockdown.
Another group is migrant workers living and working in Russia and losing jobs there, thus being deprived of a source of income for their families in Armenia. People who lost their job locally included employment in stone factories, dairy & food production, sales, and construction sectors. Other families who lived in poor or vulnerable conditions before the virus outbreak saw their conditions worsen because of the pandemic. Overall, the situation is similar to other regions of Armenia as well․
After partnering with the European Union Delegation to Armenia, the Austrian Development Agency, and the Estonian government to deliver the aid packs to the households and health facilities of the Lori and Shirak regions, the COAF team moved towards its other beneficiary villages in the Armavir, Aragatsotn, and Tavush regions.
Through COAF COVID Emergency Fund, 2218 families were provided with primary food, hygiene supplies, board games and stationery, and 50 beneficiary health facilities with medical gear. The healthcare items included masks, sanitizers, soaps, thermometers, pulse oximeters, face shields, respirator masks, etc.
COAF’s preliminary assessment indicated that 41% of 1300 COAF SMART Center students from the 26 Lori villages, were left out of education (both school & COAF programs) because of not having a device or internet connection needed for distance learning. So COAF included games and painting materials in the pack to encourage our children to stay home and ensure entertainment and self-development at the same time.
The COAF team that traveled through the villages and handed in the aid supplies consisted of doctors and social workers who have years-long experience in working with rural Armenian communities. The one-on-one meetings with the villagers assimilated a short consulting on COVID-19 safety measures, with COAF specialists explaining the situation in the world and answering the questions of the villagers.
For the consecutive month of the state of emergency in the country, July was extra emergent for the people of the Tavush region. The military aggression started on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, started by Azerbaijan, had disturbed the peace of its villagers.
Despite the situation, the COAF team was right next to our villagers in the borderline communities of Tavush, including Berdavan, Koti, Aygehovit, and Vazashen, helping them overcome the negative consequences of the pandemic.
The Children of Armenia Fund continues to support its beneficiaries in the fight against COVID-19 in the Tavush, Armavir, Aragatsotn, Lori, Shirak regions.