UMCOR in Armenia
A Human Face on Development
UMCOR is assisting the people of Armenia as they work to build a democratic and market-oriented society. While much of the world enjoys daily comfort and commands powerful technologies, many Armenians still struggle for the basics of life. (how to help)
A series of disasters, including a devastating earthquake in 1988, the war over the Armenian enclave of Nagorno Karabakh, a five-year blockade on incoming goods, and a severe three-year energy crisis, has left this nation scraping for electricity, gas, and clean water-primary resources we take for granted in the West. Since declaring independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia has vigorously pursued free market reforms within a democratic framework.
Health and agricultural reforms are necessary to create a basis for a sound fiscal policy. However, these reforms create challenges that seem overwhelming for Armenia's most vulnerable social groups. UMCOR's programs address the needs of these vulnerable populations: children, women, the elderly, rural families, and refugees.
UMCOR established offices in Armenia in August 1994.
UMCOR in Armenia promotes physical health and well-being by:
- Distributing free medicines, medical supplies, and equipment to health institutions.
- Providing health kits, school kits, and blankets to socially vulnerable children.
- Providing children with health education on hygiene, tobacco use, and risky sexual behaviors.
- Using volunteers from the refugee community and from the U.S. to renovate crumbling rural medical posts.
- Training nurses and doctors in health care management, maternal and child care, first aid, and public health education.
- Conducting research in reproductive health to study the patterns associated with sexually transmitted diseases and infertility in Armenian women and men.
- Introducing a participatory system for villages to help them support their own medical needs.
- Organizing Primary Health Care Fairs in villages to teach about disease prevention.
- Distributing medicines to hospitals and clinics damaged in the 1997 floods, and hygiene kits and blankets to victims.
- Organizing a round table with top policy makers and medical experts on two women's health priorities in Armenia-breast cancer and cervical cancer.
- Responding to the urgent need for food, clothes, medical assistance, and practical support of an orphanage in Vanadzor.
UMCOR in Armenia promotes community and self development by:
- Providing small loans through solidarity groups to poor rural women, allowing them access to credit, building support among neighbors, and benefiting whole families and communities.
- Providing small- to medium-sized loans to farms and businesses that require credit in order to make the agricultural system work.
Learn More About UMCOR's Work in Armenia:
How to Participate in This Program
More than a million people have benefited from UMCOR's programs in Armenia. Please join in the response efforts by giving to UMCOR Advance #250225 and indicate "Armenia." One hundred percent of your gift goes to this emergency. The generous giving of United Methodists to the One Great Hour of Sharing supplements the cost of Advance gifts.
Give through a local United Methodist church or send financial contributions to: UMCOR, 475 Riverside Dr., Room 330, New York, NY 10115. Call (800) 554-8583 to make a credit card donation.
More Ways to Help
- A high percentage of vulnerable children in Armenia have problems with their vision. UMCOR's Armenia staff are working to provide vision screening for 4,000 children and eyeglasses for those who need them. They estimate that 1000 of the children will need glasses. Prescription glasses in Armenia cost $6.00 per pair. This would be a good project for vacation church school or a youth group. Gifts for this and other ministries in Armenia may be given to UMCOR Advance #250225. Designate "Armenia". Please note that we are collecting financial gifts and cannot accept used eyeglasses.
- Offer support to send needed material goods, such as school kits, layette kits, and health kits. Call 1-800-814-8765 for further information on material resources.
- Participate in the Medicine Box program.
- Volunteer your times and skills. You can provide valuable assistance to people in need and participate in life changing experience. Please call the Mission Volunteer Office at the General Board of Global Ministries, 1-800-554-8583, to inquire about volunteer opportunities.
- Distribute the bulletin insert about Noah's Ark and UMCOR in Armenia.
Photo Credit: Wendy Whiteside, UMCOR. See more pictures of UMCOR's work in Armena.