ECHMIADZIN — Mer Doon has welcomed two new residents into its program. Arpenik Ghazaryan, from the state-run orphanage in Gavar, and Mariam Babyan, from the state-run orphanage in Vanadzor, recently moved to Mer Doon because they are 18 years old and have aged out of Armenia’s traditional orphanage system.
Joining Mer Doon’s other residents, Ghazaryan and Babyan will receive a university education, skills training or enroll in other suitable educational opportunities, and career training and job placement to secure their success into adulthood. Mer Doon provides a family-oriented home that transitions orphaned and disadvantaged girls into empowered women and contributing members of society.
Ghazaryan entered the orphanage in Gavar when she was 4. Her father and mother were estranged. Her mother remarried and established a new family that did not include Arpenik. Her only biological relative was an elderly grandmother, who could not care for Arpenik and her brother. At Mer Doon, she will be enrolled in a computer course and will learn manicure skills. In her free time, she enjoys arts and crafts.
“I am very happy to be at Mer Doon,” she said. “I am busy all the time, and I have learned so much in my first month, like cooking and housekeeping. This feels like a real family environment.”
Babyan entered the orphanage in Vanadzor at the age of 10. Her mother was physically and mentally disabled, and she never knew her father. After her grandmother died, she moved to the orphanage. This fall, she will enroll in Echmiadzin State College (Vardges Hamazaspyan School) and study business management. In her free time, she enjoys dancing.
Babyan said, “I am very comfortable at Mer Doon. I have adapted well to the other girls and the rules of the home. I look forward to achieving my dream of becoming a manager for a company.”
Mer Doon collaborates with a number of local and international organizations to advance its mission. These partners provide a unique synergy and grassroots support network. They include the Fund for Armenian Relief, Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief, Echmiadzin Municipality, GMG Media Group, Knights of Vartan, St. John Armenian Church of Detroit Ladies’ Guild, and Armenian Educational Foundation.
Mer Doon provides orphaned and disadvantaged young women (ages 18-24) a loving and nurturing place to call “home.” Our mission is to educate and empower them with skills to live independently in mainstream society. The organization’s Co-Founder and Executive Director, Tigranuhi Karapetyan, manages the daily operations of the program.