In October, five members of the Armenian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA) visited the Hanganak non-governmental organization (NGO) in Stepanakert, the capital of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic (NKR), to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the AWWA’s funding of the elderly project. Susan Giragosian, Annie Youssoufian, JoAnn Janjigian, Sara Janjigian Trifiro, and Andrea Stepanian Southard traveled together to Yerevan and then to Stepanakert.
Since 2004, the AWWA has sponsored the Hanganak NGO, a clinic that provides medical and social support to 200 elderly Armenian 63 years old and over, living alone in Stepanakert. This program delivers comprehensive social and healthcare services along with provisions of pharmaceuticals and food.
The clinical staff is comprised of one physician, four nurses, and two social workers whose main goal is to improve the beneficiaries’ quality of life. In addition to medical care and monthly provisions to the elderly, the Hanganak NGO also provides spiritual and community activities. In 2006, a Senior Citizens Center was established for the elderly to gather to watch movies, socialize, and have refreshments. Hayr Hagop, the local pastor, often visits the clinic and holds spiritual conversations with the beneficiaries. Every year, the staff also provides trips to historical sites in Artsakh (Karabagh), such as Gandzasar, Shushi, Amaras, and Tidranakert.
Part of the October mission was to oversee the workings of the clinic and assess how the program is benefitting the elderly that it serves. The AWWA members met with many beneficiaries, both at the clinic and in their homes, and they all expressed their sincere appreciation for the assistance they have received over the years.
The AWWA members were invited to meet with various Artsakh government officials, including Prime Minister Ara Harutyunian, Mayor Suren Grigoryan, Health Minister Harutyun Qushkyan, Minister of Justice Ararat Danielyan, and Deputy Minister of Culture and Youth Affairs Hasmik Mikayelyan, as well as Sirpazan Barkev Mardirossyan.
On their last evening in Artsakh, a celebration was held in City Hall. In attendance were government officials, beneficiaries, Hanganak Clinic staff, and the general public. The celebration included traditional Armenian dancers and several musical performances. Both the prime minister and the mayor expressed their gratitude for the Hanganak NGO Clinic and presented several certificates and special medals to the members of the AWWA and to the director of the clinic, Dr. Gohar Hovhannisyan, on the 10th anniversary of this charitable mission in Artsakh.