Manvel Harutyunyan has been attending Orran since the year 2014. He lives with his grandparents. When Manvel came to Orran, the report from his community school was that he was a misbehaving child. Manvel felt he was being discriminated against because of his economic status.
Despite the injustices of life from an early age, Manvel has never given up. On the contrary, he always fights for his rights. At Orran, he attends woodworking classes, loves to create, and is very excited when he takes home the proceeds from the sale of his art work at Orran. He smiles and says that the last time he received 4,000 drams, he and his grandmother went for food shopping.
Manvel stands out with his acting and painting talent. Every time Orran is visited by celebrities from different fields, he takes photos with them and carries on a pleasant conversation. Not to be outdone, he is always proud to have a large collection of photos with notable people. He says that the last time he managed to take a photo with the RA President and the RA Prime Minister. Orran has a big place in Manvel’s life. His dream is to succeed, so that he can take care of his aging grandparents. Manvel often says he knows his dream will come true because he has Orran as family.
Lilia and her brother Emmanuel came to Orran in 2017. The children are under the care of their single parent mother. After a few months of their arrival, the teacher at Orran noticed Lilia’s inclination towards the canon, a musical instrument that resembles a horizontal harp. The child showed a keen interest, often mimicking playing with her fingers. Lilia’s mother could never afford to buy a canon or secure lessons for her. The situation was so dire at home that once her mother said “I struggle and can’t even afford to buy a ruler for their math class”. We were worried, our experience had shown us time and time again that if the economic situation is critical and the child is not kept busy, he/she can end up on the street begging.
It was discussed and decided among the children and their teacher. The proceeds of the sale of the pottery made at Orran by the children would go to renovating the old canon sitting at Orran’s warehouse. As for the musical lesson, Edgar Gyanjumyan, the director of Kristapor Kushnaryan Art School in Yerevan would lend his assitance with a full scholarship.
Today, Lilia plays her favorite instrument and is doing quite well in music school,
Harutyun’s family lives in socially insecure conditions. His older brother, Karen, who lost his hearing at a very young age due to illness, communicates with his surroundings through a hearing aid. The first day Harutyun visited Orran, he was very self-contained, there was a feeling of pain in the child’s inner world, and at the same time a mess of joy for his new world.
For the first time at the end of the day, Harutyun, like other children at Orran, having received a 200 dram fare for transportation headed what seemed to be home. His mother was waiting for him on the way. Seeing Harutyun was not coming, his mother anxiously called Orran. Everyone was worried and started making phone calls to people who could possibly know where he went. As it turned out later, when he was being searched for, our little hero decided to take a little detour and walk in the city center to spend his 200 drams which he did on his favorite donut.
It is true that it was a tense day for Orran, but Harutyun remembers his “adventure” with a smile and says it was an unforgettable day.
Anna Varosyan attended Orran Krikorian Center in Vanadzor from 2009 to 2012. She was brought up by a single, unemployed, mother living in a small metal wagon house. Their only source of income was the state welfare. Orran recognized that Anna had the potential for being an excellent student who had aspirations for higher education. In 2011, Orran presented her story to Viva Cell-MTS company. VivaCell-MTS generously bought an apartment for the Varosyans in a newly constructed building. Orran in turn, helped the mother to find a job at a local sewing factory. The Orran teachers and volunteers worked with Anna so that her dream of higher education would be within reach. Soon, Anna was admitted to the Department of Mathematics at Vanadzor State University.
Today Anna is a loving wife and mother to 2 children and lives in Yerevan. She currently has resumed her studies at the University which she had interrupted when forming a family.
Arsen is suffering from hemophilia. He lost his mother in 2018 and was at risk to be placed in a care institution since his father was in prison and his older brother was serving in the army. It was fortunate that his older brother managed to get an early release to raise and care for Arsen. Yet, life gave them another challenge, they were to vacate the house they lived in with their mother as it belonged to the company that she worked for. The situation became critical as Arsen’s older brother was unemployed, and there was a real risk of losing his brother to social care .
Orran discussed the situation with the Society of Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR) and asked for their help.
It did not take long for SOAR to purchase an apartment for the two brothers who happily live together under a warm roof.
Eighteen year old Hayk, from Khatchik Village in Vayots Dzor, was accepted to the Orran Apprenticeship Program, financed by the HSBC Bank. Hayk always wanted to raise rabbits and through this program, he was able to achieve his goal. Together with his 3 friends, Hayk started his apprenticeship with Yervand Manukyan, a renowned cattle farmer in the Lori region. The young men learned how to breed rabbits, care for them and understand their “language” . All the expenses of this training were covered by the program.
Today, Hayk and his 3 partners have set up a rabbit breeding micro business, raising rabbits for food and as pets. He is able to generate an income to support his family, and who knows, he may yet become a top breeder in his field.
Mrs. Armike is an 84 year old grandmother who comes to Orran daily to have lunch. When she was asked why she loves to come to Orran, this is what she said: ”My husband had been ill for a very long time and passed away a month ago (Nov.2019). I have a daughter and a son. My daughter is divorced and has 2 children ages 5 and 3, and lives in dire poverty. My son is ill. We all live together in a one room apartment. I have a pension of AMD 30,000 ($60) a month, just enough to cover my pharmaceutical costs. If it was not for Orran, I would go hungry. Believe me I know the feeling of hunger too well.
Blessed be the day that I met Raffi Hovanissian on the street. I approached him for help. He gave me a hug and walked me to Orran. The food at Orran is so plentiful that I secretly hide part of it and take it to my grandchildren. I know I am not allowed to do that, but how can I not, when I know my little ones are waiting hungry to see what grandma has for them.”