“They’re here,” the children scream joyfully as the bus pulls up. Here in Nor Khachakap, a village in Armenia’s Lori Region, the schoolchildren have been anxiously waiting for the arrival of the community’s British-Armenian friends. The visitors, including Armineh Carapeti, the chairperson of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s British affiliate, along with a group of benefactors and supporters from Britain, have come to Nor Khachakap bearing gifts. Subsequently they present each and every student with a backpack filled with stationery.
“We’ve been implementing this project since the years children in Armenia did not even have shoes to wear,” Carapeti says. “In fact, we started out by distributing shoes. Then, gradually, we began to bring stationery and other school supplies. Often parents approached us and said they couldn’t afford to buy them.”
“To date, we have distributed backpacks and stationery to numerous schools across Armenia,” Carapeti continues. “The education of children is our top priority, and we believe it is of utmost importance to create the necessary conditions for an excellent education.”
Gevorg and Nune impatiently open the backpacks they have just received. The kids compare their colorful pens, pencils, and notebooks, to see whose stationery looks the best. “When I start going to school in September, I’ll write very neatly in these notebooks; and I won’t make any scratches,” promises Gevorg, a second-grader. Nune, who is a year older than Gevorg, gives him a suspicious look. “But make sure you don’t damage them by September,” she says.
Helping Mrs. Carapeti put the backpacks over the children’s shoulders is Mr. Richard Anushian, the sponsor of the school-supplies project for Nor Khachakap. “Seeing the twinkling eyes of these children is my greatest reward,” he says.
While the kids marvel at their presents, members of the delegation from the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s British affiliate take a tour of the school of Nor Khachakap. The campus, which is attended by 65 students, is clearly in need of major renovations. Afterwards, as Mrs. Carapeti says goodbye to the children and teachers, she expresses hope that they will meet again in the near future, to celebrate the realization of yet another important project.