Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right ...
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right.”, Henry Ford.
Khachatur was only 14 years old when he first joined the Jinishian Memorial Foundation’s school debate club project in his school #190 in Yerevan. This is one of the 130 schools where the JMF established debate clubs within its Civil Society and Education program.
A teenager, who was born in Lebanon where his musician parents were in a concert tour, and a grandchild of a Musa Dagh survivor realized and firmly believed that he is the one among the Armenian youth who is able and responsible for personal contribution in development of Armenia towards its path in becoming a democratic country and a country of a dream for all Armenians. The participation in debate club was a great opportunity for development of leadership, critical thinking, and public speaking skills vital for realization of his beliefs.
The JMF has been implementing the Youth Engaged in Civil Society project since 2004. The project is aimed at fostering democracy and developing civically conscious and socially responsible citizens in Armenia through the creation and development of Debate Clubs for secondary and high school students. About 130 established debate clubs involve students aged 14-17, who later use debate as a tool for being engaged in the civil society development process. The project provided knowledge to high schools students about key issues related to the development of civil society, democracy and human rights, building communication and analytical thinking skills that will permit them to more actively participate in the development of Armenian society. The debate clubs, organized in the schools as extracurricular activities, also add value to the education system. The initiative builds links between youth, the NGO sector, and governmental agencies through a civic initiative seminar series and round-table discussions.
Hip Dysplasia Early Prevention among Children in Armenia
“When in summer 2013 I gave birth to my daughter Karine, all of us were very happy and excited to welcome our first child into our family”. All of a sudden at the maternity home I was told that Karine had hip dysplasia. It was quite a stressful period of life for our family.
Hip dysplasia is the medical term for instability, or looseness of the hip joint that affects thousands of children each year. When a baby is diagnosed with developmental dysplasia of the hip and treated early, the outcome is usually excellent. If treatment is delayed, the further steps are more complex and with less chance of success. In the framework of the JMF implemented health project numerous ultrasound doctors were trained to diagnose various forms of hip dysplasia via examination of infants at maternity homes; something which was not practiced before.
Bringing Smile to Armenian Children on Christmas Eve
Christmas was rapidly approaching and all children were dreaming about gifts. Unfortunately, many impoverished children in Armenia do not experience the excitement of opening presents at Christmas season because many poor families cannot even afford to purchase basic necessities for their children let along Christmas gifts. Christmas is a time of despair for these children who have few reasons for enjoyment and it brings additional psychological problems for children who feel the meaning of being disadvantaged. Generous people responded at Christmas time, when even the strongest of spirits need a little bit of help. In December 2013 with the support of individual donors the Jinishian Memorial Foundation (JMF) reached children from 5 marginalized villages of Vardenis region, Gegharquniq marz and children from Gyumri city, Shirak marz where harsh social and economic conditions were intensely reflected and conditioned by a number of factors such as severe climate conditions, unemployment and migration. The JMF delivered Christmas packages to about 302 children of 2-16 years old and each child was provided with a personal gift package which included a package of sweets, toys, warm pajama and warm blanket. The children were all cheerful and the looks on their faces were enough to show how much they appreciated the Christmas gifts the JMF had brought for them. Giving warmth, love and hope, that’s what Christmas is all about.
There are two types of people in this world - ordinary and resistant. I was always told that I belong to the latter category, so as you can understand that debate is something close to my heart. When I became a 9th grade student at school, I was provided an opportunity to demonstrate my resistant personality in the debate club established at our school within the scope of a project implemented by the Jinishian Memorial Foundation. Being not fully developed, but yet a self-confident and result-oriented 13 year old, I started gaining debating skills. And I immediately understood that the characteristic given to me since childhood was completely true.
Abrahamyan Nane, Gyumri, 2 years old
The parents applied to the Arabkir Medical Center having problems with their infant’s gait. The radiography detected two-sided dysplasia of the hip (DDH). After a conversation with the parents of the child it became clear that the grandmother, being herself a medical worker, displayed indifference to the ultrasound screening and did not allow the procedure. However, when the child began to walk, it was the grandmother who noticed the strange gait of the child and, realizing the seriousness of her wrong decision, made the parents consult the appropriate doctor. Now the child is under ambulatory treatment at the Arabkir Medical Center where the doctors will try to make the hip grow normally by means of conservative methods like using gypsum bandages and, later on, wearing a separating harness. The child will be monitored until the end of the treatment. However, because of the late detection of the hip dysplasia, it’s difficult to foresee how the child’s hips will grow. One cannot rule out that the doctors could very well recommend a surgical intervention when the child grows up.
The Importance and Consequences of Ultrasound Screening
Khachatryan Mane, Akhuryan region, 1,5 years old
Mane did not pass her ultrasound screening immediately after she was born because the hospital ultrasound specialist was absent that day. The child was discharged from the hospital. After a month the newborn child was brought to see a pediatrician. By a fortunate coincidence, the ultrasound specialist was also in the office. Learning that Mane had not passed the ultrasound screening, he suggests to her parents to complete it as soon as possible. After the screening she was diagnosed with a two-sided dysplasia of the hip. The pediatric orthopedist of Gyumri starts the treatment of the child, explaining to the parents what dysplasia of the hip is, what treatment the child must undergo, and what the consequences will be if the child receives the proper treatment in time. Realizing the seriousness of the illness causing this disability, Mane’s parents listen to the advice of the doctor and promise to be consistent during the whole period of the treatment.
The sad reality of the Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) war (1988-1994) is that it wounded the soul of each person living there. It took away thousands of lives, and left children orphaned. Nothing is forgotten, but life goes on, and what else can we do? Some say they would rather have died in the war than continue to live as they do.
Armen is one of those people. Born in Hadrut town, he became a war veteran by age 21, traumatized psychologically and physically. During military action in Meliqashen village, he was seriously injured and his leg was surgically removed. It was 1993. His head and lungs were affected as well. Armen received medical assistance in Hadrut and Stepanavan hospitals. But another stab in the back was waiting at home. The girl he loved did not want contact with a handicapped man. Armen’s health was getting worse and worse. He did not want to communicate with people. In 2005 memory loss problems arose. Armen lived with his family, who were all very vulnerable. They were on the list for receiving an apartment until…
The Youth Engaged in Society (YES) project implemented by JMF Armenia and Youth for Achievements NGO promotes civil society through extracurricular debate clubs in over 100 schools in Armenia. Tatev joined the debate club in 8th grade thinking she would participate in the club a year at most. However, she was captivated by the project and continued through graduation. Not only did the project help her understand and debate issues of human rights and democracy, it led her to study law at the French University of Armenia. With guidance from JMF, Tatev has started a debate club in her university, which continues to attract students and engages them in debate on critical issues facing Armenia. “Debate club is a lifetime experience that increases students’ knowledge and self-confidence,” says Tatev.
Thanks to a generous gift from a vacation bible school group in Iowa, seven year old Arusik received two digital hearing aids. Arusik lives in Vanadzor city, Armenia with her parents, two older sisters and one younger brother. This city suffered severe damage and thousands died during the 1988 earthquake, the effects of which are still seen today. Arusik and her family live in a rundown one-bedroom apartment with broken windows and doors.
During Armenia's worst period of political and economic instability, Hovhannes started a farm from nothing in the abandoned and devastated village of Tghkut. Today, Hovhannes is a prosperous farmer. In 1989 Hovhannes began his career as a farmer by caring for the livestock of neighboring farms. Seven years ago, he borrowed 10 cows to start his own farming business. He managed to buy the cows in two years, making the start of a rewarding business. In 2005 Hovhannes was given the opportunity to receive a favorable micro-credit from the Jinishian Memorial Foundation (JMF). JMF had decided to extend its micro-credit services to the Meghri region after a study revealed the Meghri region, which includes Tghkut, had no access to micro-credits due to its remoteness from the capital city Yerevan.
Remote Armenian Community Claims its Right for Preschool Facility
The remote community of Arevatsag in north Armenia’s Alaverdi region will finally have the kindergarten it has lacked for nearly 18 years after winning a grant from the well-known donor organization – Jinishian Memorial Foundation, and securing funding for its staff.
Some 20 children will soon attend the pre-school education facility to be constructed within the facilities of the Arevatsag Secondary School.
The project Ensure Sustainability of Rehabilitation Treatment in Marzes of Armenia builds the capacity of regional doctors and nurses and creates rehabilitation teams for early diagnosis and treatment of childhood disabilities. Initiated in 2007 by the Jinishian Memorial Foundation, the project has transformed the lives of hundreds of children with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, congenital hip disorders, and scoliosis.
One of the world’s oldest civilizations, Armenia was the first in the world to officially accept Christianity as its state religion. Unfortunately many decades of communist agnostic propaganda diminished the strong spiritual roots and traditions in the country. As a result of this spiritual gap, there is a lack of functioning churches and priests in many communities of Armenia. People’s knowledge about Christianity is very limited and is mainly based on the talks and ideology of parents that were strongly influenced by communistic atheism.
Recognizing the spiritual need to reach people with the gospel and to bring communities back to church, in 2006 the Jinishian Memorial Foundation-Armenia (JMF-Armenia) and the dioceses of the Armenian Apostolic Church together started a project called Spiritual Education and Experiences for Children.
Debate National Championship: A Celebration for All
National Debate Championship (NDC) is the name given to the closing event, which brings together representatives of all 80 schools that participate in “Youth Engaged in Society” (YES) debate club project being implemented and funded by Jinishian Memorial Foundation and “Youth for Achievements” educational NGO and co-funded by European Union. This special championship is organized at the end of each academic year and has a very unique character. At first sight the National Championship is a “championship” which presupposes competition of teams, but in reality each year this event turns out to be a real celebration for all directly and indirectly involved in the project: debate club members, their mentors, parents, teachers, judges of debates and project implementers as well.
Diabetes is one of the most prevalent diseases among non-communicable diseases. About 50,000 people are suffering from diabetes in Armenia. The burning issue is the rejuvenation of diabetes, i.e. diabetes now starts in early childhood and continues throughout life, gradually becoming more debilitating if not controlled and treated early. Diabetes is not an entirely curable disease, but proper treatment may essentially reduce the severity of the disease. For children diagnosed with diabetes it is a turning point in life, since they should accept and understand numerous changes in their life activities including daily frequent blood tests and injections, rigid nutrition ration and balanced physical loads.