Story

Gevorg stays home instead of going to orphanage

In many countries around the world, children with disabilities often end up institutionalized in orphanages. Perkins is working in countries around the world to change that. Here is Gevorg's story.

Child sits on a Pilates ball, supported by his teacher

In Armenia, empowered professionals are able to respond to the complex needs of families of children and bring alternatives to institutionalization due to the support of Perkins’ model programs. Gevorg is just one example of this success, as he was able to stay at home with his family instead of an orphanage in Armenia.

When he was just a baby from Masis in Armenia at five months old, he was referred to the daycare center Rays of Hope by a pediatrician at the Arabkir Medical Center.  

Rays of Hope is a Perkins Model Program. It has received support and training from Perkins for many years. Recently, it became a support center, providing professional support for inclusive schools.  

Unable to sit on his own, having trouble using his vision, and failing to reach many developmental milestones, he presented a big challenge to his family. This is frequently the case with children with significant disabilities. Gevorg’s mother was under tremendous pressure from family members to place him in an orphanage. 

Bringing Gevorg to Ray of Hope was a last attempt to keep him out of an institution, since that is the only program that made referrals from hospitals possible. 

Perkins-trained teachers observed Gevorg in various settings, consulted his family and medical team, and developed a strategy to support both Gevorg and his family. 

What does support look like?

Twice a week for the past seven months, Gevorg has received regular interventions, including physiotherapy and special education. 

Now, Gevorg has learned to sit up and improved his balance. 

A social worker conducts regular home visits to facilitate his integration into the family. In the fall, a psychologist worked with Gevorg’s mother to ensure that she did not feel overwhelmed during the pandemic. With this additional support, Gevorg’s mother was able to provide the care necessary to support Gevorg at home. 

Gevorg can now benefit from the security of being with his family, so he can do what children do best: play and learn!

Efforts that matter 

Perkins International’s team in Armenia is working on an integrated approach of simultaneously helping orphanages transition to a community-based model of care. At the same time, we are strengthening community-based programs as alternatives to orphanages and institutionalization.

The pandemic amplified these social and economical challenges, causing many more families to seek placement for children with disabilities in orphanages.

Our donors make this work happen — for Gevorg and for children around the world.

Meet Gevorg and the Perkins International teachers who helped him in the Europe and Eurasia region.

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