|A couple of weeks ago we, Birthright Armenia/Depi Hayk volunteers, visited "SOS" children village in the city of Abovyan.|
"SOS" charity foundation", a project of an Austrian teacher Hermen Gmeiner, which started in the post World War 2nd period to give orphan children a sense of a family and an opportunity to have a "home", began working in Armenia after the earthquake of 1988.
Fancy ever in my life that I would visit a children's village or a town? No. As we entered the territory of "SOS' we found ourselves in an area cut off from a real harsh, busy every-day life, so beautiful and quiet, where kids of different ages learn to live in a family environment. Children left without parents or with parents, having no means to raise them, are brought here to live together with their new family- brothers and sisters and a mother in their own house.
So here is the village: 13 houses, 60 boys and girls, living per 4-5 in a house, run by a "mom". We are invited to visit one of the families. And we follow a group of kids so excited about our visit and that they'd have a chance to talk to us, to show their home to us, and to tell us that they live and belong here.
- Hello, how are you doing? , - they greet us as we enter the house.
To my surprise the house turns to be very nice, really warm and cozy: a big and sunny living room, a kitchen, a separate bathroom, and the children's bedrooms. As we sit down and start talking to the children, the same small girl says she knows a song in English and starts singing. Other small kids join her. And then she comes up and asks for our names. She's so active!
- Our children are usually all active, says Zara. (She's a mother for 6 children, the eldest of them a 13-year old girl called Diana.). During the day kids are usually very busy at school, at different after-school activity classes, reading books and so on. I run the house on my own, but there are other women, who come to help me with the work about the house.
We learn that soon the second "SOS" village in Armenia will open in the city of Ijevan. I don't get excited at the idea of this new home facility for children: it means that there are and will be more kids abandoned.
Zaruhi Avetisyan (Russia)