Friday, 22 November

Editor, MP, Discuss Housing Plight of Zatik Orphanage "Graduates"

At a press conference today, the plight of those being discharged from the Zatik Orphanage due to their age was discussed by Hetq Editor Edik Baghdasaryan and Heritage Party MP Anahit Bakhshyan.

Arsen Mkrtchyan was forced to leave the Zatik Orphanage when he turned 18. Now 20, he’s a fourth year student at the Yerevan Polytechnic Institute and works nights in a bakery to pay his rent.

He was told to find his own way in this world – no housing, job, nothing.

“Sure it’s tough, studying and working at the same time, but I have no choice,” Arsen said.

Recently, 33 of the 68 orphans at Zatik have been discharged, according to MP Bakhshyan.

She argued that the children were being “tossed out” with nowhere to go despite legal guarantees that the state must provide for their social needs, including housing.

Baghdasaryan noted that the government had initiated a housing program for parentless children leaving state orphanages as far back as 2001 and that construction began in 2003.

“It was a fabulous program had it been fully realized. Some 156 apartments were built in just a few years. Then, there were revelations of large-scale embezzlement and a criminal investigation was launched,” Baghdasaryan said.

No one was ever charged and the monies were never returned, he added.

“Hey, this is normal for Armenia where officials try to make money from everything, even at the expense of orphans,” he said.

MP Bakhshyan commented that while social programs are signed into law and get budgets, their effectiveness is never really felt by those in need.

There’s no state policy, no institutional approach to this problem,” she said.

As to what steps the orphanage “graduates” might explore, MP Bakhshyan advised them to take up the matter with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, which has a number of projects on paper, and see if any relate to facilitating work or education for those leaving the orphanage.

Baghdasaryan proposed that pressure be brought to bear on various business leaders and oligarchs to offer these young people jobs.

“These kids need the support of society but there’s no one out there willing to provide them the assistance they need,” he added.

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Comments (2)
1. Zara22:54 - 28 December, 2011
Ete Duq chlineiq aron Baghdasaryan, vstah em voch mek@ cher bardzradzayni es khndir@. Vstah em, shat gortsararner karogh en ed eritasardnerin ognel, irenq bolorn el avelin qan normal mardik en, giten kyanqi dar@ ev qaghcr koghmer@, uxxaki petq e mer boloris` hasarakutyan adjakcutyun@ ev SER@ .
2. anny14:34 - 29 December, 2011
In the ten years that I visit Armenia . I learn one thing. I will never understand the mentality from the Armenian people. on one site they are very lovely the other site is that I do not understand that they do notting to change there lifes. I was as volantier somethimes 4 times a year in Zatik orphanage.the Director was a very lovely person, bud if I try to change anything it was not going..I always asked my self what I do wrong ,why he not change. slowely I understand that it was the system. in the years I saw that it was going reayly wrong there. if you have 150 children in one building you have to teach them over how life is outside the orphanage, that there is a different between boys and girls you have to teach them in real life,including what to do whit the money including sexlifeI think that it is not only to give them a good life in the orphanage. I know that it is not easy to do this, and in the Netherlands everything is different bud still I am thinkiing that you can do it in a other way. I saw many houses where girls has to live it was realy horrible,my dog has a better hous I have 3 children if they where 14 the take a little work the money they make, I take the half of it that was going to a bank book for later that they did not know, when they go out of my house to married, I give them that bookthen they where very happy whit it. I understand that the children from Zatik becoms also every month a little money from the state,I told the Director that, and say do it in the same way, so if they have to go out then they have a little money to invest in there houses. he only smiling and say that it was not possible, if I asked why not I became the answer that it was not going?after 7 years and alot of things that I want to change was not going, I stop to work there. Now I trafel 2 times a year to Armenia and help people on the street most of the time olther people to give them money for food and clothes. ore do something to change in there houses, like give them a heatsystem so that they not vreeze in winter.I hope to go there again in may 2012 whit love Anny
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