The Paros Foundation established the Debi Arach Children's Center in Gyumri, Armenia on April 15, 2015. The center, which provides 120 children each week the necessary academic, psychological, social and humanitarian support, has since been a source of positivity in this city. The residents of Gyumri, Armenia's second largest city have endured very devastating realities since the tragic 1988 Spitak Earthquake. More than 100,000 residents were left homeless, and plagued with unemployment and rampant poverty for years to come. In turn, the fate of children in Gyumri has also been affected. Dealing with the difficulty of finding means to feed and care for their families, many parents are unable to provide their children with the proper guidance, supervision, educational aid and the financial resources for them to excel in school and have successful futures. The Debi Arach Children's Center, which in Armenian means "moving forward," helps these socially vulnerable children through a holistic approach providing them with both humanitarian and educational support. The center provides counseling and group therapy with a psychologist on staff, homework help and tutoring for almost every subject the children learn in school including English, Math, Art/Design, and Computer classes.
In 2016, Debi Arach launched their vocational training program at the center in order to provide young adults with a set of skills and tools they will need to secure gainful employment and help break their family's cycle of poverty. Students participate in their choice of several programs including computer programing classes using a curriculum developed by the Union of Information Technology Enterprises, 3D printing and related software and programming, and computer repairs - both hardware and software. In 2017, we plan to add additional hands-on training programs such as welding, cosmetology and culinary classes.
The center operates Monday- Saturday and classes are offered on a rotating basis. 50 young adults will be enrolled per year and attend the training class of their choice. Once the training courses are completed, the Debi Arach staff will work with the students on job placement. Sponsorship towards this project will help run the vocational center for one year, including staff wages and supplies. The goal is to help hundreds of children develop a vision for a successful future, and to give them the skills they need to reach these goals.
Young adults living in extreme poverty in Gyumri, who are not interested or able to continue their higher education, have very bleak prospects for a successful future. To combat this reality, the Debi Arach Vocation Center provides job skills and aid in job placement in order to help these young adults change their lives towards a successful future by gaining real skills and securing real employment.