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Poverty Alleviation Projects

2006 Projects

February 8, 2006

Dear Friends:

Welcome to your February 2006 report for The $10 Club.

On December 9, 1995 Mariam Pipoyan was brought to the Zatik Orphanage in Yerevan, Armenia for counsel, care, and an education. No information is known about her parents. I’m told she is a “very calm girl, clever and organized,” enjoys listening to music, and someday wants to become a translator. Today, over 130 children, age 6 to 18, live with Mariam at the facility.

There are many children in the Zatik Orphanage who are significantly behind in their education, having been brought in from life on the streets. Also, there are some children who want to have higher education after secondary school, but need to have extra private educational training to be able to reach their goals.

Zatik has a compassionate staff of individuals who are paid by the government. However, as a result of charitable donations, the Orphanage is also able to provide tutors to assist the children needing further attention. Children receive additional, targeted lessons in private classes for different subjects.

This month 278 of us joined together to donate $2,780 to the Zatik Orphange to pay for 9 teachers to tutor students there for four months. While these tutors only earn between $22 and $111 per month depending on the subjects they teach and age of students, their presence at Zatik will surely make an enormous difference. Thank you.

Your donation will enable Voskanova Emma to help with Russian language lessons; Nikoghosyan Shavarsh and Hayrapetyan Alik to help with mathematics; Abrahamyan Vera to help with biology; Ghazaryan Anna to help with English; Badalyan Ludmila to help with physics; Hovhanisyan Anahit and Hakobjanyan Margarita to help with Armenian language; and Melickjanyan Dianna to help with art.

Deteriorating economic and social conditions since the early 1990s have had a disastrous effect on Armenia’s prized educational system. A 2001 report reflecting on a decade of Armenian independence from the Soviet Union, 10 Years of Independence and Transition in Armenia, notes that there is a “meager” education allocation from the state budget of two percent, amounting to roughly $40 per student. Armenia had dedicated between seven and nine percent of its gross domestic product to education in the 1980s.

The impact on school budgets and enrollments is shocking. More than one-third of preschool institutions were lost between 1991 and 2000. One-quarter of state and community extra-school institutions have disappeared and enrollment there has dropped by nearly two-thirds. There also has been a 40% decline in the number of professional technical colleges. Publicly-funded education, though guaranteed in the Constitution, has been termed “an illusion.”

Sadly, the system that remains is ill-equipped to train students in marketable skills. “Thousands of young people with no particular form of training are entering the labor market each year,” according to the 10 Years report. A transformation is underway but it will be years in the making and the challenge will be to provide for the current generation of students sufficiently so that their futures aren’t compromised by an inadequate system of education.

A devastating earthquake in 1988, the collapse of communism, and armed conflict with Azerbaijan over the mountainous Nagorno-Karabagh region, have all conspired to make the past two decades difficult for Armenians. The nation’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vartan Oskanian, concludes, “Reform should also continue in the sphere of investment, education and health. I am convinced that the problems that Armenia has encountered are resolvable, [notwithstanding] their complexity and multifarious nature.”

I agree. And thanks to you, this month we’ve made a commitment to assist where we could in resolving some of the educational difficulties facing more than 100 orphaned Armenian children.

Saving the world, ten dollars at a time,

Adam M. Roberts

The $10 Club is a nonprofit corporation registered in the District of Columbia.
Contributions are exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The $10 Club 2040 Tunlaw Rd., NW Washington, DC 20007 (202) 337-3123 adam@thetendollarclub.org