Times of crisis bring out either the best or worst in us. Thankfully, the best in us is shining through. The current situation in Armenia has sparked Armenian Educational Foundation members and volunteers to step in to support students and families in need of food and supplies. With citizens unable to move freely, families have found themselves in hopeless situations, losing the ability to take care of their own needs.
An initiative, led by AEF student Halmet Khkoyan and other AEF student volunteers, have distributed food and assistance to the needy in Yerevan, Gyumri, and the villages of Berdik, Azatavan, Lernagog, Nalbandyan, Kharberd, Sasunik and Oshakan. AEF members in support of these students’ charity work, contributed over $18,000 to provide needed funds for the volunteers to deliver food to over 1000 families. Each of the food boxes contain essential food and supplies that will feed a family of 3-4 people for 10-14 days.
Besides purchasing food from super markets, the group is also getting certain items donated. In an initiative to also aid farmers who are unable to transport and sell their products to Yerevan – the group is driving out to villages and purchasing fruits and vegetables. For example, after buying 200 Kg of apples, the farmer even donated another 200 kg.
“Experience has shown that people living in the city live in much worse conditions than in the villages. In the beginning, whoever was able to contribute did so voluntarily, from money to their own products: noodles, dried fruits, tea, apples, boxes, napkins, toilet paper, etc. At first, the team consisted of four people planning to help 5-10 families. Then we started to increase, helping hundreds of families. The number of people joining us was increasing every hour, and those who provided assistance were participating in the work in various ways,” Khnkoyan states.
While state measures certainly help people, the money provided reaches citizens very late, posing an immediate problem for families in need now. Thus, even with a global pandemic and an ocean of separation, AEF members and students have established a connection and continue to assist the most vulnerable populations in Armenia.
AEF Board Member Rafik Khatchaturian expressed immense pride and support for the initiative, describing AEF students as “soldiers in a humanitarian army.”
If you are interested in making a contribution to the initiative or in becoming a member of AEF, please visit our website at aefweb.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.