Not long ago, we introduced the readers of ONE to the fatherless children of Armenia:
In a chilly and damp room, 12-year-old David does his homework near a pile of books. “Do you know what I want to become,” the fair-haired boy asks, looking up from his assignment. “An archaeologist, in order to study animals that are extinct.”
“But there are also other things I want,” he adds, “but won’t have.”
The dreams of David, and those of his 9-year-old brother and 26-year-old sister, are varied and often changing, but they all hold one element in common — the return of their father.
David last saw his father seven years ago; he had given David a kiss goodbye at the door as he left for Russia in search of work. He has not returned since.
“He makes telephone calls, but I don’t speak to him. I think he doesn’t even remember me,” the boy says, trying to hide his tears.
Many men in the northern Armenian town of Tashir leave the country to work abroad; unemployment tops 50 percent in the region. Many who work in Russia provide the minimum means of subsistence for their families back home, but some never return. As a result, women are left behind to shoulder the burden of running households and rearing children on their own.
Stories like that are repeated again and again throughout Armenia, where child poverty is skyrocketing. The prospects are often bleak. Many of the poorest children in Armenia live in distant, rural corners of the country. A significant number live on the streets; others live in “containers,” pre-fab boxes, not real houses.
But for some, there is hope. The Church is watching over these forgotten boys and girls, street children who have no place to call home, at a caring place called the Artashat Center. It’s helping them as best as it can.
Most of these children have never experienced a true Christmas. But this year, Archbishop Raphael Francois Minassian is determined to give them one belatedly. He hopes that CNEWA — and our kind donors — will help make it happen.
He wants to buy simple gifts — gloves, a warm sweater, a pair of shoes — for 300 forgotten kids. He hopes to purchase it all and celebrate with the children a bit later in the New Year.
You can help make this happen — and extend the spirit of love and generosity of the Christmas season through the New Year. In this way, you can help bring Christ into the world again and again, insuring that those most in need will experience joy and love long after the holiday is over.
Visit this giving page to learn more. From all of us at CNEWA, thank you — and be assured of many prayers and good wishes during this Christmas season and in the New Year!