New opportunities for parentless children in Armenia
16-23-year-old 60 parentless children from childcare centres have become beneficiaries of the EU-funded “Equal personal development opportunity for parentless children” project. These children will be provided with the knowledge on fundamental constitutional rights, practical entrepreneurial skills, and professional orientation, to ensure their self-sustainability in the future.
The first introductory workshop of the project took place on 15 February 2016. Representatives from civil society and business community attended the event alongside with project beneficiaries.
Ambassador Piotr Antoni Świtalski, the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, made a presentatiօn on the EU’s support to promoting and protecting children’s rights: ‘I am happy that the EU supports this project, one that involves the Armenian government, to raise civic awareness, improve legal framework for parentless children in this country and to create employment opportunities for them. We are undertaking this project for several reasons. Firstly, the rights of children are the most important; indeed the young generation are of the utmost importance in today’s world. Due to demographic processes, the challenge to provide the young generation with the best possible start to adult life has acquired a new meaning and importance. Everywhere in Europe children are regarded as a chance to move society forward, and to allow society to meet the challenges of the future. This project is about educational opportunities, about jobs, and about creating the best possible conditions for start-up activities. The situation in Armenia is different than in other countries – there are fewer parentless children and the Armenian society has very strong family ties. Armenians should be proud that family values are so important here, and that family links help to solve problems for young people. However, there are still parentless children who need support, so there is much to do. We have to empower these parentless children to find jobs and create their own futures’.
Among the speechmakers was the Armenian Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Artem Asatryan, who first thanked the EU Delegation to Armenia for its continuous cooperation with the Armenian government: ‘The priority for us is that every child has an opportunity to live in his or her biological family; however, that is sometimes impossible. There exist good possibilities for guardians and caring foster families. So far, 220 parentless children have already received accommodation, and 250 others are on the waiting list. For me, the importance of this project is that it enables the parentless children to take their first independent steps in life and find a stable place in the society’.
After six months of training on how to establish and run small start-up business, the English language, constitutional rights and IT skills, twenty best graduates will be provided with internships in Armenian companies, and will receive small grants to start their own businesses based on the business plans they develop. The project is funded by the European Union and implemented by the “Centre for Socio-Economic Research and Analysis” NGO.
The project duration is 2 years (from May 2015-May 2017), and the EU contribution is €400,000.
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