Society 16:33 09/12/2013

Children are in the loop of CRONIMET Charity Foundation’s activities

The CRONIMET Charity Foundation (CCF) established in 2011 operates in nearly all regions of Armenia with a goal of supporting children in need to perceive with education, science, music, other activities, as well as to help solving their health-related and other issues with an institutional approach which implies renovation of secondary and special schools, establishing and refurbishment of pre-school institutions, providing necessary equipment, taking over tuition fees, and alike. held an interview with CCF Director Anna Sedrakyan.

- The founder of the CRONIMET Charity Foundation is the CRONIMET Mining AG that is the main shareholder of the Zangezour Copper Molybdenum Plant and has been operating in Armenia for more than 10 years.

With over ten years of activities in Armenia, CRONIMET Mining is well aware of the social problems that exist in the country, and especially of the problems related to children, education. Thus, it has been decided to establish a structure that will focus on social issues particularly improving children’s quality and raising the level of education.

The Foundation has several areas of activity. First, this is assistance to the children in need, and within the scope of this component we work with special and boarding schools and other institutions whose activities are related to physically and mentally disabled children. The second direction relates to public secondary schools, higher education, as well as assistance to vulnerable groups for the provision of medical services.

The CCF is financed by its parent company, as well as Armenian partners including the Zangezour Copper Molybdenum Plant, "Pure Iron" factory. In addition, we cooperate with various local companies and have co-financing in some projects where we make investments as our partners do.

- What are the results of your activities during these 2.5 years? How many beneficiaries does the Foundation have by now and how do you select beneficiaries in general?

- We have implemented quite a lot of programs and I can say for sure that I am pleased with the results of the previous period. The number of beneficiary children is already above 3 thousand. The selection is done in the following way - when the Foundation was just established we made a list of potential beneficiary institutions, visited them and then in each case we discussed with the management what kind of support program should be implemented. That is to say, every time the assistance is targeted to individual needs of beneficiaries.

I would like to present some of our projects to make the activities of the Foundation more visible. For example, we implemented a program at the Kapan Special School N3 which cost is around 50.95 million. It included a full renovation of the building, provision of equipment, manuals and other necessary stuff. We continue to work with the institution and as the living conditions are improved, we concentrate now on issues related to integration of children into society.

We are also working with the Boarding school in Dilijan town. Here again, we spent about 30-35 million drams on the renovation of the building. Also, the computer lab of the institution fully re-equipped with necessary network and digital equipment, more than 180 new books were added to the library to ensure productive evening spare time for children. Being aware about the theater and dancing lessons given at the institution, the Foundation has provided modern professional sound system. 

We work with the Vanadzor boarding school as well, where partial renovation works have been carried out...
Another interesting project that is currently underway is implemented in Yerevan. This two-stage program is a joint effort of the CCF, Arabkir Medical Center and Arabkir United Charitable Foundation. For the first time in Armenia specialized services including early diagnosis and special treatment for children with autism, cerebral palsy and other development problems were introduced in the N9 Policlinics in the South-Western district of Yerevan. By now only Arabkir Medical Center have provided such services. This is indeed a very important project as the services are introduced at the policlinic level which contributes to early diagnosis issue, and we envisage similar pilot projects to be implemented in other policlinics as well.

Within the project, the Foundation CCF carried out partial renovation, Arabkir Medical Center provided the training of specialized staff, and the Ministry of Health provided financing for additional staff. I would like to specially emphasize the last point as we consider the participation of Government as very important in ensuring the sustainability of such kind of projects.

- Is the policlinic service already operational?

- Yes it is. There are around 200 children with different problems attending it. The second phase of the project envisages the renovation of a kindergarten in the same district that will completely correspond to standards and requirements for an “inclusive” institution. It will provide necessary facilities even to children on wheelchairs. Partners are planning to establish daycare services within the kindergarten that will provide specialized medical treatment to children with most difficult problems. The building of the kindergarten has been already chosen, and we are planning to start the renovation works in the nearest future. The CCF contribution only will amount 120 million drams. Project partners including the Yerevan Municipality and the RA Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs will provide necessary staff. 

- Can we state that the Foundation operates in the regions as well?

- The only region that we have not implemented any projects yet so far is Shirak marz. However, we are planning to make it eventually happen in 2014. We’ve even visited several sites and both the scope of assistance and the number of beneficiaries is identified.

Another project that is especially worth mentioning is construction and setting up a pre-school in Kayan Avan village where only 306 people live. That is a small bordering community located just in 200 meters from Azerbaijani border, yet there is a school in the village where 140 children communities take their studies…

- The school of the community with 306 people living there?

- That’s right. This is because children from neighboring communities attend the school which is due to the personality of the director who really does her best to give a really good education to these children. They, for example, participated in the Hay Aspet Competition twice and won. Given such an active management it was reasonable to invest around 40 million drams to build a pre-school adjacent to the main school building. Launched just a month ago the pre-school already has 50 children attending and I am sure this number will grow.

- Mrs. Sedrakyan, to follow up on the topic of bordering regions, are there any other projects implemented and do you plan for such projects during the next year?

- This year we had supported the school of Kharkhaput village in New Shahumyan region of Nagorni Kharabagh, though it can hardly be called a school as actually it is located in two abandoned Azeri houses, and there are only 22 children studying there. So far, we have provided some stuff including computer equipment, books and stationary, but we plan a larger project with this school in 2014.

Along with this, we also supported sporting events organized in Nagorno- Karabakh. Another project is implemented in Shahumyan village of Armavir marz where we renovated a school that is already operational staring from September 2013 (the project cost was 50 million drams). Currently, we are building a kindergarten in the same village as the village itself and the neighboring 3-4 communities do not have kindergartens. As I said the project is underway, the cost totals 100 million drams. 

- What are the other projects that the Foundation is planning to implement in 2014?

- It is important to underline that the priority directions of the Foundation’s activities will not change for the next year and children will remain in the focus of our operations.

We may just to some extent reduce financing of construction works to concentrate more on innovative and educational projects. Particularly,the CCF has initiated establishing “Mobile Applications Development Laboratory” in Kapan SEUA branch which will enable students to get hands-on training in programming and latest technologies. This is really a very important project as it will contribute to economic diversification in Syunik that traditionally is a mining-focused region.

We will also continue supporting ArmRobotics projct that we co-financed in two stages: the first stage implied preparation of robot learning kit to be provided to robotics classes in schools, and the during the second stage organizers acquired necessary equipment for the classes and provided training of trainers of 55 schools participating in the pilot project.

By the way, one of our core principles is cooperating on a continuous basis rather than engage in one-off projects. Other than that, there are always some reserve funds that we try to keep to accommodate unforeseen yet interesting cases. In other words, any child or a teenager who is talented or has viable ideas can potentially benefit from the Foundation’s resources.

Interview by Liya Khojoyan


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