Batmasian Family Foundation Helps FAR Launch Major Project
James and Marta Batmasian Family Foundation Helps FAR Launch Major Project To Establish State-of-the-Art Vocational Training Center
For Children and Youth
Thanks to a generous gift from the James H. and Marta T. Batmasian Family Foundation, FAR (Fund for Armenian Relief) has started a major project which, among other improvements, is aimed at establishing a modern vocational training center for children at the Parakar #2 Special School in Armavir Province. A school that serves 180 physically and mentally-limited students (ages 7-18), Parakar #2 has been in desperate need of improvement for years. Its roof has been partially missing, exposing vulnerable children to the elements. Some of its classrooms were literally crumbling, and eventually rendered unusable, ultimately limiting the school’s capacity and resources.
FAR also plans to build a rehabilitation center equipped with modern IT resources where the children will be able to access services to help improve their functioning and mobility. The dormitory area will be renovated, too, as most students board at the school. All construction is expected to be completed in about three years.
By renovating the school, FAR is trying to ensure a safe and nurturing environment for learning and living for this specific category of children and youth. Such an environment could help students with their character development and sense of self-purpose; it could contribute to maintaining their aspirations to excel, and will create a more comfortable and safer environment conducive to the positive development of children with disabilities. Improvements will help them to acquire new skills and facilitate their integration into society. In addition, teachers’ roles at the school will be reimagined so that kids can view teachers as mentors, role models and collaborators. They will be trained to be able to instill personal values and life lessons that would help students become productive adults and active citizens, regardless of their specific life circumstances.
FAR gives hope, guidance and opportunity to those in need, empowering them to create a better present and helping them pave the way toward a stronger future. FAR caters its general relief and development programs to the changing needs of the people of Armenia. Headquartered in New York, FAR also has four offices in Armenia, with its head office in Yerevan. Currently, FAR concentrates its efforts on social services, social and economic opportunity and development, child protection, healthcare and education. Since its inception, FAR has implemented more than 225 relief, social, educational and cultural projects valued at over $290 million. The Batmasians have spearheaded and funded over 20 of these projects themselves predominantly through AYO!, which is a fundraising platform of FAR that emphasizes the power and agency of the Armenian people and their ability to make positive changes in their society by providing a vehicle to raise money for local development projects. Just one example is Ayo!’s Breathe Freely project. Although the Armenian population is relatively aware about the harmful effects of tobacco smoking, recent surveys show that their knowledge of second-hand smoking is very poor. This project advocates its dangers, trying to raise awareness publicly and changing the way people think about the effects and causes of second hand smoke, a cause near and dear to Marta Batmasian’s heart. Another project is Adopt-A-Library, which aims to rebuild and refurbish libraries at 17 rural Armenian schools because a love of reading can make a massive difference in the life of a child and help them gain an improved education.
Having been born and raised in Istanbul as a minority Armenian, Marta Batmasian’s dream was to immigrate to the U.S. where everyone is given the opportunity to pursue their dreams. She founded Ayo! to give this same opportunity to the new generation of Armenians. Marta believes that Armenians are capable of taking their future into their own hands and believes that Ayo! will provide them the financial, logistical, and moral support they need to realize their potential. Marta is also a member of the Board of Directors of FAR.
For more information about FAR, visit www.farusa.org