5 Meaningful and Unique Choices for Holiday Gifts that Will
Impress the Recipient, Help Countless People, and Make You Feel Wonderful
By Vic Gerami
The holidays are a great time and opportunity to continue supporting Armenia and Artsakh. I was in Armenia twice this year and was curious about the various organizations helping people. I was fortunate to visit a few of them, witness their work in progress, and interview their leaders.
If you are looking to purchase a unique gift made in Armenia, I recommend BuyArmenian.com, where you can shop from over 1,000 vendors. If you want to help a non-profit organization with a donation on your behalf or someone else, I have four recommendations for you.
This online marketplace by the wife and husband team of Lilit and Nishan Odabashian was founded to support Armenia. They created a vast online department store to feature all vendors to sell their unique and hard-to-find items. They include clothing lines, artists, sculptures, housewares, food and beverage, baby essentials, gifts, and much more.
Helping and supporting our motherland, Armenia, in any way possible is not something new for the Odabashian couple. However, it became a priority agenda when they grasped the dire current economic situation in Armenia due to the war and the Covid-19 pandemic. They focused all their time, energy, and resources on creating the project and making it a reality. It may have been the unfortunate war that started this venture. Still, the Odabashians, along with their Buy Armenian Marketplace team, firmly believe that it is an absolute necessity for the diaspora and the motherland to work hand in hand to secure the survival and prosperity of Armenia.
‘Focus on Children Now’ (FCN) is an exceptional organization doing incredible work in Armenia and Artsakh. I met with the founder, Kariné Aboolian, while I was in Armenia in May. Karine gave me a detailed rundown about their comprehensive initiatives and programs.
FCN is dedicated to helping impoverished children access the basic necessities of life through humanitarian, education, nutrition, and health programs. Each program they sponsor directly focuses on helping children gain an education, ending their malnutrition, surrounding them with a safe environment, and aiding their overall health.
The Paros Foundation has dozens of projects throughout Armenia and Artsakh. They include building greenhouses and a children’s center in Gyumri, planting more than 800 fruit-bearing trees, establishing a large-scale rabbit farm, fertilizer production, small animal feed production, and honey production.
They recently launched a resettlement program as part of its Emergency Relief, Resettlement, and Reconstruction-Artsakh Project to help those families that have fled Artsakh and are unable to return.
The Paros Foundation’s Resettlement Program takes a comprehensive approach to refugee resettlement, including thoroughly screening families, securing their permanent homes in Armenia (including renovation and furnishings), and engaging them in appropriate economic activities.
ONEArmenia began in 2012 with a simple idea: unite individuals worldwide who recognize the country’s potential and build a thriving Armenia by funding sustainable projects with radical transparency at the heart of it all. There has long been skepticism around donating money to projects in Armenia. Their commitment to radical transparency has helped break this skepticism.
Their global community has raised over $7 million to support 35 local projects with a long-lasting impact. After almost a decade working on the ground in Armenia, they have developed a reputation for top-notch operating standards, quality design, content, and consistent impact measurement and reporting.
Now they are switching gears to show the world why Armenia is an alluring destination for experience travel, staying true to their values and goal of creating fair employment opportunities in the country so that local people can thrive.
I visited the Homeland Defenders’ Rehabilitation Center when I was in Yerevan in May. I didn’t know what to expect before going there but was very impressed by their facilities. There are several buildings on campus and a garden in the middle. The center’s information and public relations officer, Saten Mikayelyan, gave me a tour of the facility, and I got to interview two veterans.
Homeland Defender’s Rehabilitation Center provides comprehensive support and services to wounded soldiers and those with disabilities with around-the-clock nursing care. The center is fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment by Technobody, WoodWay, AlterG, Aretech, etc.
They have an interdisciplinary team of specifically trained experts, including rehabilitation doctors, acupuncturists, physiotherapists, psychologists, speech therapists, and other highly qualified specialists.