Throughout the 20th century the rights of children, their well-being, urgency of their safety, psycho-social and physical, have become an overwhelming importance to the humanity. Since independence, Armenia faced a number of shocks in the guise of social-economic crisis, disastrous earthquake of 1988 and ignition of armed conflict with Azerbaijan. All these left huge stains on the psychological and physical condition of Armenian children and Save the Children International was among the first to offer a hand of support.
Since then, Save the Children has implemented over 900 projects in around 500 communities in Armenia that benefitted more than 400,000 children. As the new millennium arrived, an urge for policy reform matured. Now we mostly operate at national level and contribute to improvement of legal framework for a more child-oriented environment in Armenia. A team of competent experts is established, specialized in child protection, advocacy, inclusive education and youth issues to lead our programming in:
EDUCATION: Access to Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) services and preschool education for children, establishment of innovative model of school-based inclusive ECCD centers. We develop capacities of teachers to deliver inclusive education, professional orientation and long-term and short-term vocational education for Young People with Disabilities. We prioritize disaster risk reduction through mainstreaming school-based DRR education as Armenia is located in a disaster prone area, and children – especially those with special needs – are a special high risk group during emergencies.
CHILD PROTECTION: Family strengthening and alternative care are one of the cornerstones for us. We contribute to strengthen and diversify alternative care system in Armenia. An example is our contribution in the development and promotion of the Concept on Foster Care, approved by the Government. Now important amendments in the Family Code, Criminal Code, Administrative Code and other legal acts derived from the Concept, are pending Government approval. We also aim to ensure countrywide replication of the established new service centers that provide comprehensive independent life support for children with disabilities and their parents.
CHILD RIGHTS GOVERNENCE: Investment in children, child participation and monitoring of children’s rights are among our priorities. We succeeded in lobbying for inclusion of a special provision to the new constitution of Armenia, which reflects the concept of “the best interest of a child”. We have promoted protection of personal data of children at the national level, contributed to several national policies and legal acts to reflect children’s interests.
With acknowledgement that summoned efforts of many will lead to greater impact, we closely partner with peer organizations to downsize the alarming rates of violence and bullying towards children in Armenia at homes, schools and elsewhere.
Our efforts and the results gained within each of those strategic directions would hardly be possible without our donors, such as USAID, EU, European Commission, and private foundations.
Our belief is that happy, dignified and secure childhood can be ensured only by collective endeavor of stakeholders – state, civil society, private sector and wider public.