“To honor and support the heroic, inspiring and strong people of Artsakh who choose to raise future generations in their homeland” – this is the motto and mission of the “Ser Artsakh” charity program initiated by the Anna Astvatsaturian Foundation, to bring love to all those Artsakh families living in such difficult conditions.
The items included in the gift boxes that are provided to the mothers of Artsakh in the framework of the “Ser Artsakh” Program are made in Armenia or Artsakh and include onesies, pajama sets, sleeping sacks, towels and blankets, health care essentials (diapers, wipes, baby shampoo, thermometer and pacifier), as well as maternity hygiene necessities for the new mother, a custom-made soft baby book and a wooden wheeled toy. In Artsakh, they are carefully packaged and delivered to maternity hospitals in time for the next baby to be born.
There are three maternity hospitals in Artsakh: Martakert, Martuni and Stepanakert. Since the launch of the program, 161 children, including 10 in Martakert and six in Martuni, have received their gift boxes. Among the newborns were two sets of twins, a pair of beautiful sisters and a pair of brothers with their grandfather’s strength in their veins.
Victoria is one of the most common names. Parents hope that the choice of the child’s name will be decisive in the fate of both the child and Artsakh.
“The news about the donation of 18 boxes in one day made me very happy. When mothers told me how helpful these items are for them to raise these babies, that was the moment when I realized how important it is for the diaspora to keep donating to maintain the continuity of this project,” said Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte, president of the Anna Astvatsaturian Foundation. “Despite my childhood as a refugee from Baku, I was taught by my parents to always work toward more out of life. With this project, I choose to do the same in Artsakh. Armenian children and their future are my constant focus and I will never stop expecting and working toward a better future for them.”
An individualized approach is taken with each mother. The Foundation works with Artsakh’s Ministry of Health and is notified when these mothers and their newborns will be discharged from the hospital. It is important to the Foundation that no baby leaves the hospital without receiving a gift box.
“Mothers always accept the gift with gratitude. Many are even waiting for our gift boxes. There was a case when a pregnant woman contacted us and informed us that her child will be born in a few months. She asked us not to forget about her baby and to visit her with a box as well,” Armine Vardanyan, representative of the Anna Astvatsaturian Foundation in Artsakh, recalls with a smile.