WASHINGTON, D.C.—In March, the Knights of Vartan and Armenia Tools4Schools provided $16,000 to the Martuni Vocational School in Martuni, Republic of Artsakh to purchase a school bus, tools and equipment, and construct improvements around the school property. The school provides vocational trade education to students ages 13 through 17 living in the 15 villages that surround the town of Martuni. Tuition is free and the school relies entirely on the Republic of Artsakh government for funding.
After the war in October 2020, the buildings in the town of Martuni and the surrounding villages sustained heavy damage from the bombings. Basic transportation infrastructure as well as electricity and clean running water were destroyed. The Martuni Vocational School suffered severe artillery bombardment that damaged or destroyed several buildings. It has been the target of artillery bombing in prior wars in 2016, and 1993.
Ani Lodge donated $5,000 to the school in September 2019 to purchase a used Mercedes Benz car for their driver’s education program, new kitchen appliances, and tools and equipment for their culinary and tailoring departments. The Knights of Vartan coordinated their funding with the Ministry of Education and the school directors to ensure the most pressing needs were funded. The school’s driver education car provided useful transportation services to residents during the war last fall.
The additional damage to the school from the war has caused a shift in priorities and additional supply needs for the school. The Knights of Vartan tripled its funding from 2019 to 2021 to quickly restore safe transportation for the students living in the surrounding villages to attend the vocational school. Ani Lodge of Washington, D.C. donated $12,000 for the school to purchase a bus for the students, to construct a metal fence along the perimeter of the school property, and make and install a new road sign on the highway at the entrance to the school. The perimeter fence and entrance road sign will have solar powered lighting so the school perimeter will stay lit regardless of an outage in the electric power grid. A new generator was purchased to provide a back-up internal power source in the event of a power outage.
ArmeniaTools4Schools donated $5,000 to the school to purchase equipment, furniture, computers, tools, and supplies. The new equipment and tools provide the means for students to learn by hands on training from professional instructors in the trade departments. “Once the government was able to restore power and running water to the school, and remove the debris from the shelling, we needed to act fast and target the funding to meet immediate transportation and infrastructure needs for the school,” said Jacob Bournazian, a regional representative for the Knights of Vartan, Past Commander of Ani lodge and the initiator of the Martuni Vocational School project. “We hope that the new metal fence and solar lighting to the school property will deter future artillery and drone attacks on the school by marking this property as a civilian government facility” he added.
“This generous donation from the Knights of Vartan and Tools4Schools gave us hope and faith. The school, being damaged during the 44-day war, not only would get back to its normal course, but also will enable the education and preparation of professional specialists for our country for better future” said Artak Sargsyan, director of the school.
The Knights of Vartan Inc. is a fraternal leadership and service organization of Armenian men dedicated to safeguarding and perpetuating the Armenian heritage and cultural traditions. Its membership represents the spectrum of the leadership of the Armenian community. It was founded in 1916 in Philadelphia and is based the United States with 23 local chapters which support Armenian causes around the world. For more information about the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, visit the website.
ArmeniaTools4Schools Inc. is a North Carolina non-profit corporation recognized as a 501(1)(c)(3) charitable organization under the IRS and is a registered non-profit charitable organization in the Republic of Armenia. It provides funding for tools and equipment to teach students the basic trade skills of electrician, welding, tailoring, culinary, agricultural science, and operating agricultural machinery in vocational/technical trade schools in the rural areas and border regions of Armenia and Artsakh. ArmeniaTools4Schools is dedicated to providing youths with vocational trade skills that increase their opportunities for employment so they may contribute to the socio-economic development in the border regions. For more information about the ArmeniaTools4Schools visit the website.