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The Valley's Armenia: Orran Haven for Kids



2017-07-12 11:04:22

 

It's an Armenian tradition.  To welcome guests with bread and salt.   A warm greeting at a place that has been welcoming Armenian children from the streets for more than 17 years.

 Armine Hovannisian and her husband Raffi who is originally from Fresno, founded Orran in 2000, They moved to Armenia from Los Angeles in the early 90's and were shocked to see children begging and hungry on the streets. "We said, this is it, we're going to gather the children from the streets, we're going to give them a hot meal, and we're going to try and help these families,"  Armine says.

Orran started with 16 children from disadvantaged, often single parent homes. Armine says the children are initially scared and with little self esteem.  "Slowly they learn to eat the meals because we make sure our priority is for kids to have nutritious meals.  And then some of them are not in school so we place them in school," Armine explains.

 Orran provides tutors and sometimes financial support,  as well as after school fun.  Like a woodshop where the kids can sell their projects, keeping some money for themselves and donating some back to the center.  According to Armine, "The idea is that for the kids to learn they can earn money with hard work and not by begging on the streets."

 Five years ago Orran bought the land for it's own building in Yerevan, and a 2nd center in northern Armenia.  The $400,000 annual annual budget is supported by donations-- including some from the central valley,  and fund raisers like a benefit soccer tournament in Armenia.   "I feel god has given us the opportunity and how fortunate we are that we are in a position to help people.  I think that's the blessing that Raffi and I have," Armine says.

 Happy children in a place built by gifts of love.  Providing something children don't always have, but need.  "Orran means "haven".  I wanted a name that meant a home.  A safe house. So "haven" was the name we chose," says Armine.

 A haven from the challenges of the streets.  Welcoming all who who come with  open arms. 

Press  here  for watching the video







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