Last November Arthur Gasparyan, 23, was in Gyumri volunteering at Sun Land child development center and Gyumri Technology Park. With a ticket in hand to return to Russia four months later, he really hadn’t given much thought to staying in Armenia for the long-term.
But his life took a turn three months into his stay when Arthur’s curiosity led him to check out Gyumri’s educational system to see if could contribute in some way. He’d participated in the creation of children's educational projects in Moscow and was now thinking perhaps his acquired skills and knowledge could be beneficial to put to use in Armenia.
Upon his Gyumri arrival, Arthur began to teach children, mostly from socially vulnerable families, at a non-commercial educational center. From day one he fell in love with the kids and every day set off to work invigorated. The center’s creators were young, enthusiastic Gyumri natives all very much vested in the future of their city and the younger generation.
Arthur found out that the center was on the verge of closure and since all kindergartens in Gyumri were already filled, these children would otherwise be left without a pre-school education. So the decision was quickly made to breathe new life into the project to preserve it. The group found a new room in the Ani quarter of Gyumri, organized a successful crowdfunding campaign, and began construction of a new children's center called KIDO. In order to launch the project, the group was able to collect $4,000 in donations within 10 days, which covered the costs of repairing the space, recruiting new staff, and creating a training program.
The first group of 27 children started their program on August 1st and five new jobs were created in the making. The center is currently in pilot test mode, with children learning foreign languages, math, geography, logic, etiquette and more. Arthur and the group proudly state that they have “set an aggressive goal of recruiting 50 more children by October”.
Fundraising efforts for the purchase of new equipment and classroom furniture is ongoing. In addition to children's education, KIDO will launch teacher training courses, and offer a parent club for sharing experiences and spending quality time together.
You can familiarize yourself with the KIDO project in more detail and provide financial support by visiting KIDO’s website
After the successful implementation of the KIDO Gyumri project, Arthur and his group plan to scale to other cities of Armenia including Vanadzor, Dilijan, Tsaghkadzor, Goris, and Stepanakert. You can follow the progress of events via their Facebook or Instagram.