With more than 20,000 inhabitants, the historic town of Idjevan is about 140 kilometres north-east of the capital Yerevan and the most populated in the Tavush province.
The area around Idjevan is one of the most underdeveloped regions in Armenia with around 60% of the population living in rural communities. In these areas environmental challenges affect family life. Many families need support so that children and young people can be protected and grow up healthily.
Since 2008, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Idjevan.
In Idjevan and the surrounding region, unemployment rates remain high with more than 46% of children living in poverty and 2% in extreme poverty. Of deprived households in Tavush, those in Idjevan report the highest number of households that do not have enough money for food (over70%), and households that are dependent on social support (over 85%).
Nutritional deficiencies have multiple effects on children’s physical and mental development, including poor growth. As a result, Tavush is the province in Armenia with the highest number of children who are not growing healthily.
Almost two thirds of pre-schoolers in the province are not enrolled in kindergarten. Early childhood education is particularly beneficial for disadvantaged children and an important pathway to overcoming the challenges of poverty.
Early education sets them up for success in the further stages of education, enabling them to score higher marks and reducing the likelihood of repeating a grade.
Children in pre-school are also less likely to be victims of abuse or neglect, thereby reducing the need for child welfare services.