About Us

“Armenian Caritas” benevolent NGO

“Armenian Caritas” was founded in 1995 by the Armenian Catholic Church  with the extensive  support from the Catholic Relief Services.

“Armenian Caritas,” which has ‘Benevolent NGO status,’ focuses its domestic efforts on social protection and care, community-based development programs to improve the living and educational conditions, to improve public health to the most vulnerable social groups, migration and integration to implement sustainable reintegration measures for returnees and humanitarian and development activities. Since the beginning of its work, “Armenian Caritas” has provided direct assistance to thousands of people in 125 communities of Armenia.

“Serve different vulnerable groups with love and compassion, respecting the dignity of each individual:” this is the mission which leads “Armenian Caritas.” The vision of “Armenian Caritas” is to be a strong and significant role player in consolidation of social justice and social protection in the Republic of Armenia.

There are main seven directions of the Armenian Caritas:

  • Social Protection of Children
  • Social Inclusion of People with Disabilities
  • Social inclusion and care of the elderly
  • Disaster Risk reduction and emergency response
  • Community Development
  • Migration and Integration
  • Institutional Development of AC

Along with provision of basic needs, care and development activities for the targeted groups, “Armenian Caritas”  concentrates its efforts on the advocacy actions and state social policy revisions striving to assure more sustainable change.

History of Armenian Caritas

In May 1995, the Armenian Catholic Church,headed by Msgr. Nerses Archb. Der-Nersessian, the Gyumri-based Ordinary of Armenian Catholics in Armenia, Georgia, and Eastern Europe, founded Armenian Caritas in Gyumri, Shirak region.

In 1996, a Board of Directors, consisting of a president and six other members, was established and given the task of formulating the strategy of the organization and supervising its implementation.The organization was officially recognized by the Armenian Ministry of Justice as a local NGO in 1997. Since 1999, Armenian Caritas has become a full member of Caritas Internationalis. It is also an affiliated member of Caritas Europa and ICMC (International Catholic Migration Commission).

In May of 2004, Msgr. Nerses Archb. Der-Nersessian retired. Since 2011 the general president of “Armenian Caritas” is His Exc. Raphael archbishop Minassian – the Archbishop of Armenian Catholics of Armenia, Georgia, Russia and Eastern Europe.

The first activities of Armenian Caritas were merely of a relief nature; the first programs Caritas Armenia became involved in were exclusively assistance projects. In January 1998 Armenian Caritas Administrative Board decided to start the implementation of community-based development programs. In order to diversify the programmatic base for AC, the institutional capacity needed to be increased and strengthened. CRS/Armenia and CORDAID/The Netherlands, assisted AC in that process.

The two-year “AC Institutional Capacity Building” program (1998/1999) enabled Caritas to set up a new office  to cover  all administrative and management costs, to   offer support and training opportunities to the staff, and to  introduce  the principle of “Community Development/Participation” as an operational strategy through Water and Sanitation and Parent School Partnership projects. Armenian Caritas became better equipped to respond to the needs of the local population and grew more prepared to face future challenges.

Armenian Caritas has since extended its humanitarian and development activities to other areas of the country apart from Shirak region, operating in Lori, Gegharkunik , Ararat  and the  city  of Yerevan.

Institutional structure

2017-2021 PROGRAMME STRATEGY OF “ARMENIAN CARITAS”

Key achievements that entail long-lasting sustainability and impact in AC work are linked to various sectors and were achieved due to hard work and joint efforts at the local and national levels.

At least for the past 3-5 years, AC has selected and endorsed already known and evidence-based successful approaches and best practices of the global Caritas Network. The comprehensive, multi-dimensional approach towards implementation of its last Strategic Plan enabled the organization to tackle not only the material aspects of people’s life (asset/ services provision, aid, relief, etc.), but also reach impact on their attitudes and behaviour (information provision, awareness raising, skills development, etc.). It is also used to influence systems and structures, both locally and nationally, which can hinder the processes of change and development (advocacy in the wider meaning of the term). This approach, used as a systemic one, can be similarly effective in any sphere of the Organization’s activities, be it Public Health, Social Protection, Community Development or any other.

At the grassroots level, AC continues successful programming to bring a lasting change in the lives of children, people with disabilities, the elderly, young men and women. In the past 3 years AC has reached 1589 children, 1890 elderly people, mobilized 540 young people in 52 communities, provided medical services to around 3000 poor and vulnerable people, supported integration of 1583 refugees and 287 returnees.

In 2016, AC opened up its children’s and elderly care centers in Artashat city, Ararat province hence building its presence in the fourth province of the country. The fifth “Little Prince” Day Care Social Center and the sixth elderly care project are in the list, based on the experience and example of the previous ones, and provide family oriented support for children and adolescents in critical circumstances, as well as lonely elderly of Artashat. Through these centers AC strives to integrate disadvantaged children, youth and elderly people through providing social and psychological work, promotion of healthy lifestyle and educational and life-skills trainings. These Centers are important institutions, that can be sustainably operated to continue such support, and AC strives to bring Government’s attention to their sustainability.

In 2015, AC opened the doors of its “Emili Aregak” (aka Emil’s Little Sun) Center, which is a support and resource Center for people with disabilities in Gyumri, offering unique and multifaceted services for children and youth with multiple disabilities. The Center provides a multitude of services that are pivotal for the integral development of children and youth, attending it. The Center is a model unique institution not only nationally, but at the regional level as well. Care methodology used here is unique and replicable based on social model of disability care. At present AC has fundraised three projects for the sustainable operations of the Center.