The birth of a child is the happiest moment in the life of a parent. When the newborn arrives, the cares of the world disappear, lost, as the parents are enchanted with their creation. Those cares, although temporarily gone, will sometimes affect the newborn child: clothing, food, diapers, and other goods that cost money which a family might not have.
It was with this in mind that in 2002, Armenia Fund created the Ororots Program.
Just as a cradle keeps a baby safe, the program assists families with the most need so that they feel protected in their most vulnerable months right after a new child is born.
Until they are one year old, children receive packages filled with the things any newborn child needs: diapers, soap, baby food, clothing like jackets and socks. The help varies depending on the age of the child. Once they’re a few months old, the babies get toys, too.
The impact of these packages is immeasurable and although the cost would be out of reach for any of the families that receive them, each one costs only about $150. The packages are sent to needy families once every three months.
It’s not easy choosing which families need help; there are unfortunately more than can be reached. But, as with all of its endeavors, Armenia Fund has developed a system which seeks to distribute the assistance as fairly as possible. For the Ororots Program, local councils were established throughout the country.
Mostly in rural communities, these councils are composed of local health and social services officials, as well as members of public organizations. The councils are tasked with determining which families have the greatest need and ensuring that those families are the ones which receive the help provided by the Ororots Program. When it comes time, Armenia Fund partners with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on women’s issues to distribute the aid packages.
Because an important goal is to maximize the value of every dollar which is donated, the packages are sent only when there are enough funds to provide packages to 100 families. With continued support from donors, Armenia Fund will be able to expand the program beyond its current scope. The objective is to expand to all regions of Armenia, especially the border areas, if donation goals are met.
Sitting in a maternity ward in one of the villages of Gegharkunik, Lori, Shirak, or Syunik, the last thing on a parent’s mind should be whether they will be able to clothe or feed their new child. With Armenia Fund’s help through the Ororots Program, over 1500 families haven’t had that worry, letting them focus on the joy of welcoming their new baby.
This piece was written for Armenia Fund and was originally published here on May 18, 2014.