NEWS

2014-04-26 | News
Inauguration of the Project "Adopt a Family"

Yesterday "Adopt a Family" project was inaugurated. This innovative project initiated by UNHCR Armenia with funding from the US and implemented by KASA Swiss Humanitarian Foundation aims to assist 45 families displaced due to the conflict in Syria who are seeking protection in Armenia in their integration process by linking them to local Armenian families.

During the inauguration ceremony, which took place at the KASA ‘’Espaces’’ Training Centre in Yerevan, Ms. Zarine Harutyunyan, KASA Project Coordinator explained that "host families will establish relations with the displaced families and, being aware of the country and society specifics, will help them with practical advice, guidance and assistance and response to their general queries. Additionally, the host families will initiate mutual visits at their homes, organize sightseeing, cultural and social activities, both bilaterally as well as in groups."

"The project has a great potential on one hand to contribute to strengthen intercultural communication between local Armenians and families displaces due to the conflict in Syria and on the other hand reinforce the culture of sharing and mutual support in our country", underlined Director of KASA Foundation, Ms. Anahit Minassian.

During his welcoming speech the UNHCR Representative in Armenia, Mr. Christoph Bierwirth observed: "Protection of displaced population and their integration is a complex multi-dimensional process. Granting of a proper status and documentation, housing, access to work and essential services are crucial, but more is needed to make a place of refuge a genuine new home. ‘’For those who just fled conflict and often have left loved ones behind or lost everything, it is most important to feel welcomed, to be given a hand and be offered advice in understanding their new environment, including advice, which cannot be provided by brochures or formal training. \'’Adopt a Family’\' project is addressing these needs’’, Mr. Bierwirth added.

UNHCR Representative in Armenia thanked the volunteers for their engagement and noted that the project is not serving in one direction only. "Refugees and other displaced bring with them to Armenia a broad range of experiences, knowledge and skills which can enrich and serve to the benefit of the host communities and families too. This potential should be used’’, he emphasized. UNHCR Representative wished all participants in the project "fruitful exchanges in an open minded spirit, new experiences and the pleasures of growing friendship".

KASA Swiss Humanitarian Foundation is committed to sustainable development in Armenia and is operating in the country since 1997. It is primarily engaged in the areas of humanitarian, education and training, sustainable tourism development and agriculture.

UNHCR is the refugee agency of the United Nations. In more than six decades, the agency has helped tens of millions of refugees and other displaced persons to restart their lives. Today, UNHCR continues to help some 33.9 million persons in more than 125 countries. In Armenia, UNHCR is primarily engaged in the development of the Armenian asylum system, in contributing to addressing the humanitarian needs of approx 11,000 persons displaced due to the conflict in Syria seeking protection in Armenia and in the prevention and reduction of statelessness.

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