Monday, June 27, 2005

Vanadzor Children's Home Kids at Water World

A small selection of photographs from Saturday's outing for the children from the Vanadzor Children's Home (Orphanage) to the Water World amusement park in Yerevan, the Armenian capital are now online here on my web site.

WaterWorld, Yerevan, Republic of Armenia © Onnik Krikorian / ASTP-PADCO

As mentioned in a previous post, the outing was arranged by the USAID Armenian Social Transition Program - PADCO who are responsible in assisting the Armenian government in reform the social and health sectors of the republic. A good time was had by all.

Interestingly, it occurred to me that I keep on being taken back to doing work on Vanadzor of late. The third largest city in Armenia that was also devastated by the 1988 earthquake, it never seems to get the attention from the media that it deserves.

Considered a center for human rights activism as well as the small but growing rock music scene in Armenia, it's not quite Gyumri, the second largest city, and definitely not Yerevan. Nevertheless, it has a nice feeling to it and a more and more or my work seems to be concentrated there.

In the past month alone I've been to Vanadzor for PADCO to photograph the pilot Integrated Social Services Center (ISSC) they established with the government and the local municipality and I've also been there with UNICEF during the same time period. The first visit was to look at pre-school education and the second, to look at national minority education.

Incidentally, the second article on the subject of education for Armenia's national minorities will be coming soon. Until then, if you're planning to visit Armenia this summer, its worth a trip north to Vanadzor. Lori region is quite green and the surrounding area is full of historical and cultural sites to visit such as Haghpat and Sanahin, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as Odzun, Kobayr etc.

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