By Neil Forbes…
It wasn’t the first time Scotland had been drawn to play East of the Black Sea in a competitive match, but it was the first time in Armenia. As is becoming the norm, finding a suitable children’s charity was certainly a challenge, however, we were introduced to Mihran Nerseyan who is a resident of Yerevan and a keen International football programme collector. Mihran did a huge amount of research on our behalf and came up with 3 charities for our steering group to look at and decide who would be the recipient of our 91st consecutive donation.
The steering group did their due diligence and chose the charity called Arvestaran, which was very small and ran by a volunteer Hasmik Tangyan. Hasmik is a dedicated individual who set up the charity in 2018 without any funding and she has maintained the service by baking and selling cakes etc. in the local community. The mission of Arvestaran is to create a safe and enabling environment for disadvantaged children in the community, by building an inclusive and aware society, in particular for children with Autism and other development disorders.
On the day of the match, we were invited to their premises on the outskirts of the city, and a large contingent of TA attended where we were treated to an explanation of the charity, a song and dance routine from the children as well as an amazing buffet prepared by the children themselves. Our usual piper, Mark Love, played a few tunes much to the delight of the kids, who were blown away with it, many of them wanted a shot of them later in which Mark duly obliged and the kids loved it.
The £4,000 donation will go a long way, as it equates to nearly 2million Drams in the local currency. As well as a large sum of money, Hasmik was invited the next day to the Armenian equivalent of Good Morning Britain with TASA chairman, Neil Forbes, which gave the charity an enormous amount of exposure throughout the country.
Everywhere We Go!