Sos Chitikian, Haik Simonian and Sergey Melkonian have lived most of their lives at the Zatik orphanage in Armenia. Now, thanks to CHF International, they have been able to receive training in construction and residential development.
Implemented by CHF, the USAID-funded BRIDGE Public Works Program has been renovating public infrastructure and providing vocational training opportunities to unemployed throughout Armenia since 2003. Under its vocational training component, BRIDGE works mainly through training institutions to educate unemployed youth in basic construction skills, and then offers them the opportunity to reinforce these skills during actual construction.
When Nigol Abrahamian, a Canadian Armenian who owns a residential construction firm, indicated his intention to hire three orphans, CHF agreed to pay the salaries for these three unemployed youths for two months. In turn, Nigol would train them in basic construction skills during the actual construction of housing units and provide them a full time job at the end of the internship, resulting in the kind of interdependent, grass roots market development CHF is known for.
Sos, Haik and Sergey are currently gaining experience in various construction skills. Over the next few weeks, each will focus on a certain trade. Even during this time of economic crisis, these three have found not only short term employment, but are acquiring market-needed skills that will allow them to be competitive and successfully integrate into society.