“Ser Artsakh” Initiative will continue to be implemented despite the blockade of Artsakh. Anna Astvataturian Turcotte


Yerevan, May 22, ARTSAKHPRESS. “Ser Artsakh” will continue to support Artsakh newborns under the blockade, giving each newborn its first gift box.

In an interview with Armenpress, Armenian-American author, philanthropist, lawyer, president of the “Anna Astvatsaturian” Foundation and founder of the “Ser Artsakh” Initiative, Anna Astsvataturian  Turcotte stated that her Foundation continues to deliver the gift boxes through representatives of the Republic of Artsakh and the Red Cross.

“On June 1, 2022, International Children’s Day, we launched the “Ser Artsakh” Initiative based on the desire to support and protect the children born in Artsakh after the 44-day Artsakh war in 2020. It was extremely important for me to nurture the children born in families who chose to live in Artsakh. And today, almost a year later, I can say that we were able to gift 1553 boxes full of vital essentials for mother and babies to every newborn in Artsakh,” she said.

Anna Astvatsaturian emphasized that she had previously decided to implement the program for one year, but since Artsakh is under the blockade at the moment, and the need for this help is more than ever, she decided to continue delivering aid until December, or as long as they can deliver to Artsakh.

When brainstorming the initiative in early 2021 it was important for Anna to include items either made in Armenia or Artsakh or purchased there.  This was a way to support the local economy and  promote domestic products. “One of my very good friends in Artsakh, who makes wooden toys, agreed to make the wooden toy bird, which has become the symbol of the project,” she added.

“Before the project started, we were looking for Armenian-made clothes, toys, and care items for months. And of course, we found high-quality items of Armenian production, which we included in the gift boxes. There were some things that were not produced in Armenia, for example, diapers or thermometers. That was unfortunate, but we purchased these in Armenia for the Artsakh babies to support the Armenian economy and the Armenian businesses.

"Ser Artsakh" Initiative will continue to be implemented despite the blockade of Artsakh. 
Anna Astvataturian Turcotte

Anna Astvatsaturian said during the conversation that at the time they were finalizing the idea for this project and deciding which products to include in the boxes, many people asked her why she was focusing on the best and highest quality products instead of just mere quantity. It was hard for people who had not seen the refugee path to understand the emotional nuances. “I was a refugee once too and wore second-hand clothes and my brother played with old worn-out toys. I remember the feeling that came with that very well. It is a second layer of trauma. To me this project is not a donation but a gift because Artsakh families deserve the best and we should honor them for being so strong.” she said

Astvataturian mentioned that this program is an opportunity for her not only to support Artsakh and the economy of Armenia, but also to connect the Diaspora to Artsakh with their donations. “For me, the most important thing was not giving support but to show the Diaspora that people live and continue to be born in Artsakh. And to show the people of Artsakh that the Diaspora is still worried about them. The most important thing was emotional support, showing them our attention, and providing  these rare moments of joy with so much stress and pain around them daily. “- she added

When speaking about new projects, Anna Astvataturian said that she plans to meet and talk with the leadership of the Syunik region in order to discuss the idea of implementing a similar project there as well, under the title “Ser Syunik”.

“It is very important for me that people stay in Syunik and have many children there. It is also important for me to ensure they know we remember them.   I hope that this assistance will last, because this is an opportunity for people to continue to stay in Artsakh and Syunik.

“At the moment, the situation in Artsakh is quite difficult and the Diaspora is very concerned about this issue, and I have come to talk to people on the ground and understand the situation,” said Anna Astvatsaturian.

She mentioned that the project requires quite a lot of resources because each box costs around $105 and any support is very important for the Foundation. Anyone can support the Initiative by visiting www.astvatsaturian.org.

Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte is an American-Armenian writer, philanthropist, lawyer, elected official, president of the Westbrook City council and the president of the “Anna Astvatsaturian” foundation. Anna also is an author of a book “Nowhere, a Story of Exile, 2012″based on her diaries which she wrote as an 11 year old child escaping the Baku massacres. In 2013 Anna spearheaded a successful recognition of Artsakh at the state of Maine legislature. Since thenAstvatsaturian Turcotte has implemented a number of charitable programs in Armenia and Artsakh. In 2020 she founded the Anna Astvatsaturian Charitable Foundation. One of the fund’s major projects is the “Artsakh War 2020: Losses, Challenges – Opportunities for resistance development” survey conducted after the 44-day war.

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