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UNICEF Calls for Ongoing Support to Aid Forcibly Displaced Children of Artsakh in Armenia

UNICEF Calls for Ongoing Support to Aid Forcibly Displaced Children of Artsakh in Armenia

Regina De Dominicis, the UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia and the Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Response in Europe, recently concluded her visit to Armenia. This visit, as reported by UNICEF Armenia, involved critical discussions and meetings aimed at reinforcing support for refugee children and vulnerable communities in the region.

Throughout her visit, De Dominicis engaged with several high-ranking Armenian government officials, including Zhanna Andreasyan, Minister of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport; Anahit Avanesyan, Minister of Health; Paruyr Hovhanisyan, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; Tigran Khachatryan, Deputy Prime Minister; and Narek Mkrtchyan, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs. These discussions were centered on reinforcing ongoing reforms and identifying key priorities for children in Armenia, especially those affected by displacement.

Emphasizing UNICEF's unwavering commitment, De Dominicis reiterated the organization's dedication to collaborating across the humanitarian-development spectrum with the Armenian government. The aim is to ensure equitable access to crucial services such as protection, healthcare, education, and social support, specifically targeting refugee children and their families.

In light of the forced displacement of Armenians arriving from Artsakh in September, UNICEF has been actively training hundreds of frontline social service professionals. These training initiatives aim to equip these professionals with skills in providing essential psychological first aid and mental health care. To date, over 7,000 children, adolescents, and caregivers have benefited from these efforts.

De Dominicis stressed the urgency of the situation, highlighting that around 30,000 refugee children and families necessitate sustained psychological support and continuous access to critical services. UNICEF has issued an appeal for USD $12.6 million to meet these pressing needs until March 2024. Unfortunately, this appeal is only 40% funded, signifying a substantial funding gap.

Furthermore, UNICEF's initiatives have provided support to thousands of school-age children with essential learning supplies, along with training educators to ensure inclusive learning environments. Additionally, clothing vouchers are set to reach families of 14,000 children this year, and 2,500 pregnant women and new mothers will receive pharmacy vouchers.

During her visit, De Dominicis, alongside Anahit Manasyan, Armenia's Human Rights Defender, visited a UNICEF-supported center aiding vulnerable children and families. The center, backed by the Fund for Armenian Relief, plays a pivotal role in offering critical services, including psychosocial support and healthcare, to survivors of violence and refugees. De Dominicis shared her encounter with a young girl named Hilda, emphasizing the profound impact of the center in providing a safe haven for children and their families.

UNICEF remains committed to collaborating with the Armenian Government, partners, and civil society to expand access to mental health and psychosocial assistance for children and parents. The organization aims to fortify long-term community-based services while continuing its mission to support the most vulnerable segments of Armenia's population.

With a tenure in Armenia dating back to 1994, UNICEF has been implementing various programs addressing the multifaceted needs of the country's children. These initiatives span areas such as child protection, education, healthcare, and social policy, with a specific focus on bolstering support for the most vulnerable groups.


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