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Project Background

It’s been four years since Ayo! was born. We started with big dreams: to engage and support Armenians throughout the world in causes that bring about sustainable change in Armenia. Throughout that time, you’ve helped us in the most creative and interesting ways to find local solutions to local challenges. With your help, we’ve managed to fund and implement over 20 projects since our launch, both large and small. Yes, it’s been a thrilling four years, but we are in no way close to declaring “mission accomplished.

That’s right. This is only the beginning! All of us at Ayo! look forward to a future of creative, interesting projects that will help to continue to meet an urgent need in communities around the country. And all the while we never forget that we are working toward broad, instrumental societal change. But this change always starts with the individuals and the families who start seeing differences in their lives. Those who struggle daily due to lack of education, medical care, food, clothing – you name it – but who may see a change due to our programs, even if it is a small one, can usually find some hope in a new resource, whether tangible or intangible. This can help to improve their lives. On a micro level, it can change everything. On a broader level, it can eventually impact widespread change.

So, this year for Ayo!’s birthday we thought that we’d bring those individuals into focus and share our birthday celebration with someone else, someone in need—a family called the Igriryans.Zare Igriryan, 11, has one brother and two sisters and lives with her parents in a two-room apartment in Yerevan. Zare’s mother has been recently diagnosed with breast cancer. They don’t have the means to afford a treatment and she is too weak to work. Meanwhile her father spends most of his time out of the house, driving a cab to try to make some income. Winters can be unbearable in their drafty home, and most of the children suffer from prolonged colds. Rain is the same, and there’s constant issues with mildew and leaks. It’s often hard to ensure everyone has enough to eat.Zare’s brother Varazdat is eight years old. He gets As in school and has won several medals for gymnastics, despite the fact that he can barely see due to problems with his vision. The problem is compounded by the fact the family can’t even afford to buy him some new glasses. The ones he wears now are held together with masking tape. Varazdat’s dream is to become a football player, and he wants his own uniform, sneakers, and football so he can practice on his own. His sister, Ani, 7, dreams of having a Barbie doll. Finally, there’s Susanna, who at 15 is the oldest child and wants to become a painter or a programmer. As for Zare, she wants to be a manicurist and dreams of having the right equipment. She, too, struggles with health issues. For years she’s suffered from chronic migraines, yet as much as she wants to go to the doctor her family can’t afford any kind of treatment.

Despite their dire situation, this family tries their best to stay positive. The kids work hard in school; their mother works hard to keep the house in order, and their father to keep food on the table most of the time. Their love is abundant. While their story of struggle is not unusual for Armenia, especially for many of the families we work with, it is another compelling illustration of the need to make a difference for the poverty stricken in Armenia.

While this isn’t typical Ayo! fashion, for our fourth birthday we ask for your support for something exceptional. You gift to us is your support for the Igriryan family. For three weeks your donations to Ayo! will go directly toward buying Varazdat his soccer uniform, or a doll for Ani. It won’t take much to make a difference for this family and your donation, no matter how small, can easily help them to improve their lives. Remember that broad change starts first at the individual level, and with the family, and the Igriryans are a great reminder of that!

Project Goal

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Mari Camcikyan

Michelle Bouchard

Jenny McIntosh

Nadia K K. Rodriguez

Hakob Astvatsatryan

hripsime saroyan

Asbed H. Pogarian

Sona Haratunian

Sona Baghdasaryan

James Moresco

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