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Reference : V-P-AM-E-00541
Date : 09/02/2023
Country/Region : ARMENIA
Caption : Mets Masrik, school. Children are back in the classroom following the building’s renovation by the ICRC.
Photographer : KARAMYAN, Armen
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : Source: ICRC website, article 22/02/2023

“People living in the conflict affected village located close to the Armenian-Azerbaijani border are slowly rebuilding their disrupted lives.
"Thank God school has resumed, and our children are able to continue pursuing education. Step by step, we are trying to get our lives back on track, both psychologically and physically," says Anna Gasparyan, deputy principal of the only secondary school in Mets Masrik.
“She shares that the compound impact of hostilities and COVID-19 pandemic had paralysed the education system in their community. They did not have sufficient classrooms to accommodate the growing number of students or other basic facilities like water supply and toilets. The children also did not have safe places to play or enjoy any leisure activities.
“But things are different today. As part of providing humanitarian support to the affected people, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) helped to renovate a classroom and toilets and provide access to proper sanitary facilities in the school. The ICRC also built a safer room in the kindergarten for the community to take refuge during shelling and supported the Armenian Red Cross Society (ARCS) to set up a Smiley Club for children.
"Gasparyan explains that the school, which was built in 1983, had been functioning without ever undergoing extensive renovation. "The facility had multiple problems that hindered creating the right environment for learning and growth. The toilets were disastrous and there was no water available in the school. Can you imagine a modern school for 400 students without a toilet or water? Finally, in 2021 we turned to the ICRC for support. They responded immediately, renovating the toilets and providing access to water inside the school," she says.
“Following the escalation of hostilities many families that fled from their homes found refuge in Mets Masrik. As a result, the school had to accommodate new children.
“Stepping in, the ICRC helped to renovate a classroom to accommodate the displaced children settled in the community.
“Another bright spot for the community is the Smiley Club which was set up in September 2021 and is run by ARCS volunteers. Children can join the Smiley Club after school to get help with their homework, improve their language and numeracy skills, find psychosocial support or play.”
Original material : digital
Resolution : 5472x3648
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour