Life is a little brighter at the Kharberd orphanage thanks to work done by the staff of the U.S. Embassy and members of the International Center for Agribusiness Research and Education (ICARE) and the Center for Agribusiness and Rural Development (CARD) who came together on May 13, 2017, to clean up the orphanage’s garden and refresh the paint.
The event was organized by the U.S. Embassy’s Green Team, a group of volunteers comprised of the Embassy Yerevan community dedicated to promoting environment friendly initiatives on the Embassy compound and beyond. The Embassy’s Green Team implements projects aimed at creating greener living by reducing electricity, water, gas usage; promoting recycling; improving the environment, and “generally making the world better,” said Naira Khachatryan, the current Green Team coordinator. The U.S. Embassy community has volunteered at the Kharberd Orphanage since 2011. Among other activities, it has organized donation drives, Earth Day clean up sessions, and tree planting. The Kharberd Orphanage is the largest orphanage in Armenia for children with special needs, housing 220 children.
“We are here to get to know the children and the staff of the orphanage, to spend some time together, learn their interests and share their dreams, have some fun, and, of course, help with spring cleaning,” said U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills, Jr. “I understand you have a large, beautiful garden that needs a little love and care. Hopefully we can get it in better shape so you can fully enjoy it as the weather improves.”
The crew painted 20 benches and cleaned up one hectare, removing trash and garbage from the garden. The children of the orphanage welcomed the guests and joined in. The Director showed the Ambassador and his team the horses owed by the orphanage for autistic children equine-assisted therapy. At the end of the event, the children of the orphanage performed Armenian national dance for the audience.