In the year 2020, Armenian Educational Foundation (AEF) brainstormed the best way to aid children in education following the 44-day war. The organization proposed the renovation of six schools in Armenia and Artsakh for the following year. Now, the sixth and final school renovation for 2021 has been completed, and the children of the Okhtar village school in the Syunik Region of Armenia, who have been patiently waiting, will get to celebrate new beginnings this new year.

The Okhtar school is surrounded by lush forest on all sides and includes beautiful scenic views from its classroom windows. However, the school’s crumbling infrastructure lacked the same tranquility and warmth. While the roof of the school was replaced several years ago, the school was devoid of heating, and the interior had been severely neglected. Neshan Peroomian, in charge of the AEF school renovation projects in Armenia, described the deplorable conditions of the school. “The problems of this school remained unsolved for years. The floors, ceilings, and walls were damaged, the windows were broken, and the school had no heating, creating unsafe conditions for children to learn in,” he explained.

These circumstances prompted AEF to take on the renovation as its final project for 2021. Now, the newly renovated school has been enhanced with new doors, windows, floors, patching and painting, and boasts a new electric system and heaters. AEF officially opened the new Okhtar School in October, offering a vibrant and modern new learning environment for the children just in time for the new year.

Mary Ghandalyan, head of Syunik Marz (region) Education Department, praised AEF during the opening ceremony, stating she was aware of AEF’s activities in Armenia and the diaspora. She informed the organization that the government plans to bus students from nearby villages to the school and grow the number of students attending, now that it has been upgraded. The school has since been provided with a mini-bus for the transport of students living in nearby villages.

AEF President Al Cabraloff commented, “Building on our efforts to keep families in border villages, AEF has expanded its efforts to help transform the most vulnerable and needy schools in Armenia and Artsakh. After months of renovation work, the new year will begin in a new and warm environment for the children of the Okhtar Village School. This renovation became a reality thanks to the $40,000 donation from the Armen & Gloria Hampar Family Foundation. The total cost of the renovation was $85,000.”

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