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What is the Jinishian Memorial Program?


An ecumenical relief and development agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Jinishian Memorial Program (JMP) enables Armenians in need to move from poverty and despair to self-sufficiency and hope — through relief, development and spiritual uplift. It began in 1967 through Vartan H. Jinishian’s bequest to the church, made in loving memory of his parents, the Rev. and Mrs. Haroutune Jinishian of Marash, Turkey, to address continued hardships faced by Armenians in need overseas.

Photograph of a group of school children.

Arevatsag children celebrate the opening of the first village kindergarten, a successful outcome of the JMP Armenia initiated community development program. Photo by Zabel Yirikian.

JMP is a World Mission ministry of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Through community-based projects, health and social services, and critical relief efforts, we serve thousands of Armenians each year. We are particularly attuned to the most vulnerable of Armenian societies, including neglected elderly and as families with children, whose income is below the poverty level. Vocational training, revolving loan funds, children’s summer camps, and youth civic engagement programs reflect our sustainable investment in a stronger future for these communities.

No formal education or schooling assistance is provided, since the donor, Vartan H. Jinishian, observed in his will that basic education should be the primary responsibility of each nation’s government. He also observed that other Armenian organizations are frequently involved in formal education and schooling, and he preferred to make support originating from his resources available for other needs of the communities.

Increasingly, JMP affirms a self-help approach to economic development, which encourages the poor to identify their own needs, define their goals, plan for solutions and organize themselves to attain the objectives they have chosen. Community-based development is being introduced in three of the five countries where JMP is working.

One of the unique features of JMP is its mandate to provide programs of spiritual uplift in partnership with the Armenian Christian denominations. Its ecumenical commitments are evident in the composition of advisory committees who provide advice and guidance to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and JMP staff in the various countries.