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.
The center hopes to expand Debi Arach with the establishment of a vocational center 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. Currently, at Debi Arach children expressing an interest at attending college receive free tutoring to help them gain admission. Those who do not plan to continue their formal education will be enrolled in several vocational training programs offered at no charge. In addition, young adult who do not currently attend the Debi Arach Children’s Center will also be invited to enroll and participate in the programs. Training classes such as computer programing, hardware repair, welding, culinary and cosmetology - - all of which are in demand in the Gyumri job market - - will be offered.
The center will operate Monday- Saturday and classes will be 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 complete modest renovations, employ qualified staff and run the vocational center for one year. 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 Children’s Center has decided to launch a vocational program to provide 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.