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2023 Annual Report

FAR’s Economic Development Program gives agency to Armenia’s people and communities as a whole so that they can elevate their livelihoods and improve their lives. Whether this be through professional development opportunities, vocational training or access to capital or resources, the program empowers those it assists.  Holistically, this program has created positive change within many communities, ultimately strengthening the tapestry of communities, local economies and livelihoods in Armenia.  


Economic Development

FAR’s Economic Development Program gives agency to Armenia’s people and communities as a whole so that they can elevate their livelihoods and improve their lives. Whether this be through professional development opportunities, vocational training or access to capital or resources, the program empowers those it assists. 
Holistically, this program has created positive change within many communities, ultimately strengthening the tapestry of communities, local economies and livelihoods in Armenia.  


The Small Business Assistance Project (SBA) empowers small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to succeed through the help of grants, low-interest loans or in-kind resources. SBA was originally started to help Syrian-Armenians who had migrated to Armenia during the war. It has since expanded to also help Armenian business owners.
In 2023, SBA provided grants and in-kind donations for 14 new business ideas and existing small businesses, including a locksmith business, a bakery, a contracting company, and a floral business. More than 110 business owners have been supported by SBA since its start in 2017.
In addition, 85 Artsakh War veterans received small-scale support in the form of equipment such as apiary tools and protective clothing, quality harvesting tools, and special cages to launch self-employment initiatives in orchard care, beekeeping and rabbit breeding. 

FAR also continued to monitor the progress of SBA alumni entrepreneurs and helped to support them in networking and guiding them to other opportunities. 

Beyond the realm of her thriving business, Katya has also initiated a doll-making hobby group, which has engaged the creative spirits of young people from her home in Sisian. Each creation is meticulously handmade with quality materials and attention to detail.

“I lead a dedicated team of passionate collaborators from Sisian, young and talented women who help especially during peak seasons like Christmas and Easter. The income earned through our collaborative efforts is thoughtfully shared between us. Together, we create not only exquisite dolls but also a vibrant community that enjoys collective success,” said Katya. “With every doll and toy I create, I pour my heart and soul into bringing joy and wonder to all who embrace them.”

From the moment she sewed her first doll for her brother's children, Katya knew she had stumbled upon something extraordinary. The doll’s whimsical charm and gentle presence captivated young hearts. 
Encouraged by the overwhelming response of her nieces, Katya decided to elevate her beloved hobby into a business. With the help of the FAR’s Small Business Assistance Program (SBA), her business thrived. The program provides much-needed financial assistance to business owners for them to launch or expand their enterprises. SBA helped Katya to purchase much-needed tools like a sewing machine and quality fabrics.

In about two years, Katya successfully sold her dolls along with an assortment of fabric toys, generating sales surpassing 500,000 AMD (USD 1,252) and firmly establishing her business as the primary source of her income.

Katya Babayan


One hundred students from Gyumri and Vanadzor participated in the second year of the Deep Engineering Education Program for high school students. They focused on mechanical and electrical engineering and AI education.

GTech provided technological training to 150 Artsakh war veterans, which led them to employment opportunities and the formation of startup enterprises. 
The tech institution also advanced on some pipeline projects during 2023. GTech progressed on its plans to open the Armenian Creative Technologies (ACT) College in Parakar, which will offer an IT certification program for high school students who attend the school. The school’s advisory board was formed in 2023 and experts were hired to develop and implement a licensing process. ACT is expected to open by September 2025.

In addition, approval was granted to GTech for the construction of a new “tech hub” in Marmashen in the Shirak Region, an initiative expected to boost the local economy. Construction is expected to begin in 2024.


Gyumri Information Technology Center (GTech) is one of FAR’s most transformative and impactful projects. From its start 18 years ago, GTech was a trailblazing institution that provided opportunity to Armenia’s young people interested in obtaining IT training and a related career in what was then a very nascent sector. GTech has since become a leader in Armenia’s extensive IT industry. With programs specifically tailored to populations like veterans and single mothers, it has become a source of opportunity and livelihood for many more who can benefit from IT skills development. 
During 2023, 1,500 students completed GTech’s technological and engineering courses at its Gyumri, Vanadzor and Yerevan campuses, as well as online. Graduates had a 70% success rate for employment and internship placement. 

At least 240 children displaced from Artsakh who are now located in Berd, Ijevan and Noyemberyan received backpacks and other school supplies.


A day care center in Noyemberyan was renovated and 23 other daycare centers received needed supplies and equipment, including kitchen utensils for meals, beds, cabinets, closets and chairs. 


Forty-eight young people received business development training, which resulted in 42 promising business ideas, 27 of which received funding from BCPP’s Start Your Business initiative. 


The Voskevan House of Culture in Noyemberyan established a carpet weaving vocational training group which 22 schoolchildren attended. FAR provided all of the necessary furniture, supplies and tools for the smooth operation of the hobby group, which will be the first of many in these regions.

A series of offline and online capacity-building training sessions were facilitated for 10 local social workers. These sessions aimed to equip local teams with the necessary skills and knowledge to better understand, support and engage beneficiaries in livelihood activities and to ensure more effective and impactful interventions in the community. 
School improvements included the complete renovation of the science laboratory at Ijevan’s Varzharan School, the refurbishments of the technology classrooms at Ijevan #4 school and Berdavan secondary school in Noyemberyan. Two bathrooms at the Berdavan school were also renovated. The cafeteria at Achajur Village’s secondary school was also partially renovated and furnished, enabling 205 schoolchildren in grades 1 to 4 to receive hot meals.

During 2023, BCPP made strides in the improvement of healthcare through the renovation of the Lusadzor and Zorakan medical centers. FAR also provided much-needed medical supplies and equipment to 27 different healthcare institutions, including eight electro-cardiogram machines, two nebulizers, four computers, 15 glucometers, 22 tonometers, five screen guns, four baby scales, one height meter, one defibrillator and an otoscope.


Up to 350 young mothers and care givers participated in community public health training sessions on child health and growth. In addition, 31 community education sessions were conducted to increase awareness and knowledge about the importance of children’s health. Sessions were conducted in different communities and a total of 371 residents participated.

Activities in the Berd Region will continue under the Tavush Charitable Foundation, which FAR established in 2021 with the mission of contributing to the long-term development of the region. The Tavush Foundation conducts inclusive projects that focus on family stabilization, child protection, economic growth and development, healthcare, education, social entrepreneurship, and psychosocial support.


BCPP’s geographical focus shifted during its second phase to the Ijevan and Noyemberyan regions of Tavush Province. Projects focused on health, community and economic development activities, education and social services in these two areas. 

The most notable overall accomplishments of BCPP’s first 10 years include the following:

  • 11,000 people given access to potable water and improved irrigation

  • 3,005 families received support (through training or in-kind resources) for income-generation activities and improvement of their housing conditions

  • 201 small businesses received support through grants or additional resources 

  • 36 schools serving 7,530 students and staff partially/fully renovated and refurbished

  • 21 day cares serving 3,500 children fully/partially rehabilitated or constructed

  • 195 students received transportation stipends that enabled them to study

  • 500 students were provided with school supplies

  • 81 students were able to attend university through scholarships 

  • 1,682 children and parents assisted by rehabilitation and prevention activities and services through the Mardigian Child Protection Center

  • 210 children attended summer camp 

  • 58 children attended science camps

  • 38 teachers trained in chemistry, biology and informatics

  • 17 teachers financially supported to be able to complete their degrees in pedagogy

  • 1,300 young people participated in 23 different hobby and extracurricular groups

  • 3,260 children and youth participated in 26 community events 

  • 950 parents received parental skills training

  • 12 greenhouses constructed

In spring, 35 trainings were held for 603 community members on adolescent health to promote awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Training focused on community-chosen topics like hypertension, cancer, diabetes, and the importance of physical exercise. 


Extracurricular activities also helped to boost community engagement. About 130 students in Berd attended six hobby groups during 2023 and more than 450 children participated in the Mardigian Sports Games, a mock Olympics event. 

School rehabilitation makes up a large part of BCPP’s work as the creation of comfortable and modern learning environments for children boosts learning opportunities. Technology classrooms in 12 schools were outfitted with new laboratory devices and accessories, ensuring a modern learning environment. A greenhouse was built at Noyemberyan High School as part of the school’s permaculture studies program, and the auditoriums at two other schools were renovated. A culinary lab was also built and equipped at Noyemberyan State College, making it possible for the school to launch its culinary arts training program.


FAR provided balanced school meals to 909 children at Berd community preschools, improving their access to better nutrition. FAR also donated sports equipment to the preschools to help staff better facilitate physical education for young children.

In 2023, BCPP’s activities in Berd made great progress and met the immediate needs of the population while also working toward promoting longer-term self-reliance and sustainability. 


Fortification of the Aygepar Village reservoir improved water quality and provided 400 residents with access to potable water. 


Through BCPP’s Start Your Business initiative 16 entrepreneurs from Movses and Varagavan villages received support to develop small business ideas. 


The most extensive project in FAR’s history, the Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program, better known as BCPP, celebrated 10 years of transformative work in 2023. All activities in the Berd Region were shifted under the direction of the FAR-established Tavush Foundation. During the second phase of BCPP, which started in July of 2023, FAR started implementing its activities in the Ijevan and Noyemberyan regions of Tavush. 
A groundbreaking project from its start, BCPP aimed to shatter the endemic cycle of poverty in Berd, Armenia’s most impoverished region, through integrated programming that addressed education, health, livelihoods, infrastructure and psychosocial support needs. Ten years of targeted assistance to the population through a combination of humanitarian and development activities sparked holistic ownership and investment in the region by the local population. 

FAR AR 2023 Aush Health Care-59.jpg

New businesses supported with grants and in-kind donations


BCPP, phase 2

Small businesses created in the Ijevan and Noyemberyan communities of Tavush Province


BCPP, phase 1

Small businesses created in the Berd Region of Tavush Province


BCPP, phase 1

People given access to potable water



Students completed technological and engineering courses



By the Numbers

Howard and Catherine Atesian Family Foundation

Leon Semonian - “Robert A. Semonian Foundation”

Mardigian Foundation

Oscar Tatosian

Avanessians Family Foundation

Carl and Linda Bazarian

Dennis and Linda Tarzian

Gregory & Meline Toufayan

Mardigian Foundation

Oscar Tatosian

Howard and Catherine Atesian Family Foundation

Leon Semonian - “Robert A. Semonian Foundation”

Avanessians Family Foundation

Carl and Linda Bazarian

Dennis and Linda Tarzian

Gregory & Meline Toufayan


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