Armenia to launch care centre for disabled youth
Above: Design of the centre by architect Richard Nikolussi.
Gyumri, 19 April 2012 - by Ophelia Minasyan
Construction will start within the next few weeks for a care centre for disabled children and youth in Gyumri, Armenia.
The centre, which will be launched next year, will include therapeutic, information and vocational training centres as well as public parks for children with multiple disabilities.
This building, which will be situated in northwest Armenia, has been a long term dream of Caritas Armenia.
Over 17% of the city’s population is disabled, according to the National Statistical Agency of Armenia. Therefore, the construction of a centre to support them is of vital importance for the community.
“One of the reasons that the number of disabled people in this area is high is that this area is a post-earthquake zone,” said the executive director for Armenian Caritas, Anahit Mkhoyan.
“The earthquake itself as well as the post disaster trauma caused the birth of many disabled individuals,” she said. “We need a good psychological and medical care for our pregnant women in order to get the possibility of the child being born disabled to the minimum.”
The project became possible thanks to the cooperation of Caritas Vorarlberg (Austria). The centre, which has been designed by the architect Richard Nikolussi, will have many modern rehabilitation facilities with the capacity of assisting 100 children and youth. Twenty-five thousand and five hundred square metres have been allocated for the centre at the end of Paruyr Sevak street in the Ani quarter of Gyumri. Half of the required amount for the construction has already been raised. Caritas Austria and Caritas Armenia continue their joint fundraising efforts.
The daily issues that children with disabilities are faced with have been key concerns for Caritas Armenia since the very first day of the NGO’s foundation.
But it was only four years ago that the organisation was able to launch Aregak day care centre in Gyumri for 30 children with multiple disabilities.
Below: Children from the Aregak day care centre. Photo credit/Caritas Armenia.
The research done in the field showed that children and their families face significant social, economic, educational and healthcare difficulties. The overwhelming majority of the families who have disabled children live in extreme poverty or bad social-economic conditions. They are separated from the social activities and there are no institutions providing social and developmental services for them. Aregak day care centre was able to solve many of these issues providing its beneficiaries with the opportunity to gain basic operational skills which they can use in their daily lives, to participate in social events and leisure activities, where the children play the leading role, to get psychological support, medical care, special education, physiotherapy, art and music therapy, life skills development, as well as nourishment.
But the project has age limitation for the beneficiaries enrolled in the centre, and eventually children graduate from Aregak day care centre aged 15 have to return to their old reality getting cut off from the world. This may cause a deeper depression among them since they had a chance to live in a socialized reality and must suddenly face isolation one more time.
But the new centre is designed to serve children and youth with disabilities without age limits.
The centre will also have areas open to the general public to socialize and for better public involvement with the children.
For more information, contact Ophelia Minasyan (Caritas Armenia) on email@example.com.