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2015 Annual Report (Jinishian Memorial Program)

Smiling girl with balloonHappy Childhood Project in Lebanon

The Jinishian Memorial Program addresses the needs of the whole person—social, economic, and spiritual. Drawing on half a century of experience, we also adapt and innovate, adjusting priorities according to particular conditions in Armenia, Lebanon, and Syria, as well as Istanbul, Jerusalem, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Georgia. Local community development is fueled by over 150 grassroots and international partnerships. As an endowment fund of the Presbyterian Church (USA) advised by Apostolic, Catholic, and Evangelical board members, we serve struggling Armenian communities through faith-based relief and development programs on a budget of $1.2 million annually. In 2015, JMP also resourced Presbyterians to commemorate the Armenian Genocide Centennial.

In Armenia, we are recognized leaders in the area of development—equipping businesses, clergy, and students to reach out and find solutions in their own communities. More than 95% of our projects are designed to address root causes of poverty and to rebuild the faith and promise of the nation. This year, 26 programs directly benefitted 13% of the population—40,000 people—with widespread impact in every region of the country, Georgia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Projects include economic development (i.e. low-interest small business loans, agricultural cooperatives), health (medical training, equipment, and prevention), vocational schools and workshops, extensive debate programs for middle school through college students, and faith-based summer camps for thousands of needy kids. We also continued critical social services to the most vulnerable—the disabled, orphans, elderly, and war veterans. In the Republic of Georgia, JMP supports schools for Armenian language and community gatherings for an Armenian population that is otherwise completely isolated. In October this year, Jinishian local staff in Yerevan hosted an interdenominational 10-day study tour focused on culture, outreach, and faith, which gave Americans a close connection with our people and our work. To learn more about our extensive programs here, please contact us at to request the full Armenia annual report booklet.

Lebanon faces increasing threats of destabilization and terror, while strained with refugees and a scarcity of housing and jobs. Increased border control has slowed the Syrian influx yet raised expenses for recent immigrants and refugees. We assisted 7,500 people including more than 100 Syrian Armenians. Two-thirds of our work is community health development including medication, preventative health, and critical hospitalization and care. Social services such as family grants and vocational programs grew this year, reaching hundreds of families and the unemployed, including specialized outreach programs for at-risk teenage girls. Programs also support affordable, safe housing; and for the elderly, provide for independent living and activities.

In Syria, five years of war has left every remaining Armenian family in need. Jinishian has reached more than 6,000 beneficiaries this year, from children traumatized by war to the chronically ill and abandoned elderly. We doubled grants to help families survive in the face of sky-rocketing costs, devalued currency, and severe shortages even of basic food supplies. We diversified emergency relief to provide for increasing homelessness. In spite of continual violence at our sites in Aleppo, Kamishly, and Damascus, we maintain uninterrupted communication and funds transfers. All centers for health and social services remain open daily, rendering critical financial aid, moral support, and medical referrals. Going beyond wartime disaster relief, JMP also initiated three development projects focused on building hope and capacity among Armenians still in Syria: Kessab village received farm machinery to replace those stolen and to re-cultivate land neglected during recent deportations; teenage students participated in a new debate club; and women learned Armenian handiwork as a source of fulfillment and income.

Istanbul and Jerusalem: JMP is a vital thread in the fabric of support to Armenians as Christians here. Jerusalem operations served over 1,000 people with financial aid and a health clinic. Volunteers in Istanbul distributed aid to 160 severely needy families with no other recourse, and we provided small business loans and vocational grants.