Chamlian Student Council member and School Supply Project Co-President, John Baghdassarian, explained: “Today we have 30 boxes that will be filled with school supplies for 330 students. We are also packing essential classroom supplies for the teachers. These boxes will be shipped to the AEF office in Armenia where they will be delivered to 5 schools in Armenia and 13 schools in Artsakh. With the support of AEF and the help of Chamlian students, we plan on raising more money to help even more students. Our goal for 2019 is to purchase enough supplies for 1,000 student backpacks.”
Chamlian Student Council member and Co-President of the School Supply Project Michael Baghdassarian added, “Volunteering for this project has helped my friends and I understand the difficult circumstances facing students in Armenia and Artsakh. Each time we pack an item in these backpacks, we are reminded of the all the privileges we have and sometimes take for granted. Students break pencils and lose their notebooks all the time, but the difference is, there isn't a Staples nearby to replace these items. The students who are part of the SSP project lack not only access to stores because of their remote location but they also lack the means to purchase new items. Volunteering today gives all of us a sense of purpose because we are able to help students just like us get the supplies they need for school.”
AEF’s School Supply Project began after the Savadian family visited a village school in Armenia. The family noticed that the students lacked the most basic school necessities, let alone any arts and crafts materials to remain determined to continue their education. Within days of their return to Glendale, the first shipment of school supplies was sent to that school. Thank you letters and appreciation notes poured in from the school, and the joy and excitement of the students in Armenia reached the hearts of donors, volunteers, and students in the United States. Since that first year, the project has expanded to a larger scale with a annual partnership with Armenian Educational Foundation. Since its first shipment in 2007, S.S.P. has delivered backpacks and school supplies to 19,000 students in the most rural and hard-to-reach schools in Armenia, Artsakh, and Javakhk.
AEF’s purpose in collaborating with Chamlian students is to help young Armenians through volunteer work, to understand not only the circumstances facing students in impoverished areas of Armenia but also feel empowered by their ability to make a positive impact in the lives of other students thousands of miles away.