by Gayane Isahakyan
ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank, Hayastan All-Armenian Fund and World Vision Armenia concluded an agreement on trilateral cooperation. Under the agreement, a joint benevolent educational programme will be launched for the children of Gavar orphanage. The document was signed on June 30 by Chief Executive Officer of ACBA- Credit Agricole Bank Hakob Andreasyan, Executive Director of the Hayastan" All-Armenian Fund Ara Vardanyan and Armenia Programme Director at World Vision Zhirayr Edilyan.
The parties to the agreement told media that the education programme for the children of Gavar orphanage is one more charitable project within the frames of the VISA Barerar (VISA Charitable) co-branding card project of ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank and Hayastan All-Armenian Fund and the first programme implemented jointly with World Vision Armenia. The programme was chosen following a telephone survey conducted in February 2014 among the 1000 most active VISA Barerar cardholders. The respondents voted for creation of a training center for children of orphanages. World Vision Armenia will take up the relevant operations to set up the training center.
Under the specified program, some 9-18-aged 100 children of Gavar orphanage have an opportunity to get knowledge and professional skills needed for their further full-fledged activities after graduating from the educational institution. In particular, the children will attend training courses of Armenian, foreign languages, Math, History and other subjects, as well as various specialties. The budget of the programme is 41 million AMD, and the duration is 3 years.
Edilyan told journalists that for the moment there are some 100 children at Gavar orphanage. "They go to comprehensive schools and also attend out-of-class clubs, but the knowledge they receive is not enough for them to find a job and fully integrate into the society after graduating from the educational institution. They need basic knowledge and clear occupational guidance", said Edilyan.
According to Edilyan, an individual approach will be displayed to each of the children depending on their capabilities, interests, health and personal qualities. Special attention will be paid to the children with disabilities. Edilyan pointed out that they are also going to train the children for entering higher educational establishments. "Under the given programme, we are trying to provide the children with specialties, which are currently in demand on the labor market. In addition, they get an opportunity to gain some entrepreneurship skills", said Edilyan.
For his part, Chief Executive Officer of ACBA- Credit Agricole Bank Hakob Andreasyan pointed out that the specified programme launched under the VISA Barerar card project is of special significance, because the Bank will not remain indifferent to the further fate of the children of Gavar orphanage. "ACBA- Credit Agricole Bank will be consistent in supplying the children with learning guides and providing them with a job, even at our Bank", said Andreasyan. He added that if the children take up entrepreneurship in the future, the Bank is ready to finance their start-ups. "We welcome World Vision Armenia's participation in this project and we are ready for further joint programmes aimed at enhancing social responsibility", he stressed.
Executive Director of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund Ara Vardanyan, in turn, said that the idea to set up the training center arose during the meeting with the children of Gavar orphanage. "We familiarized ourselves with the interests and preferences of the children and afterwards we applied to World Vision Armenia to implement a programme on creation of the training center", he said.
ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank, Hayastan All-Armenian Fund and VISA announced the issue of the VISA Barerar card in late 2012. The issue was timed to the 20th anniversary of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund. The goal of the project is to raise funds to provide financial support to the children of Armenian orphanages. The VISA Barerar cardholders have an opportunity to make regular charitable contributions to the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund without any extra expenses by only paying for the daily shopping with the card. 0.3% of each operation and 50% of the annual fee for the card servicing are transferred to the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund. In addition, the VISA Barerar cardholders can make additional contributions. The card may be issued both on the initiative of the cardholder and within the frames of the Bank's salary projects. To involve as more people in the project as possible, the Bank services the VISA Barerar salary projects free of charge during the whole period of the salary project validity. For the moment, ACBA- Credit Agricole Bank has 19 thsd VISA Barerar cards.
According to the Analytical Review "Armenian Banks in Card Business" prepared by the Agency of Rating Marketing Information (ArmInfo), ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank is on the list of the TOP-5 banks in terms of total number of active cards - about 160 thsd cards, including over 90 thsd local ArCa cards, about 47 thsd international Visa cards and over 20 thsd MasterCards. Over 57% of the total number of active cards fall on salary projects. The Bank's active cards rose year over year by 15%, which was almost equally ensured by ArCa and Visa cards. The Bank is among the TOP-3 by the number of its local cards, among the TOP-5 by the number of its international cards, and holds the second position by its salary cards. In terms of plastic transactions the Bank holds the second position with about 140 bln AMD in 2013 (15% year over year growth), with 115 bln AMD of this amount being ATM transactions. The Bank is in the lead in the number of ATMs and POS terminals (187 ATMs and 1210 own POS-terminals). ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank issues and services local ArCa cards and international Visa and MasterCards. The Bank has been an exclusive partner of AmEx for almost 4 years.
To recall, "ACBA Credit Agricole Bank" CJSC has been operating in Armenia since 1995. Since September 2006, the majority shareholder of the Bank has been Credit Agricole S.A. with a 15.56% stake. Another major shareholder, SJSC "Sacam International" (member of Credit Agricole S.A.), has a 12.44% stake.
The Hayastan All-Armenian Fund was founded by Presidential Decree in 1992. It is a unique institution whose mission is to unite Armenians in Armenia and overseas to overcome the country's difficulties and to help establish sustainable development in Armenia and Artsakh.
World Vision launched activity in Armenia in 1988. World Vision partners with the Government of Armenia, regional and local authorities, Armenian Church, UN agencies, USAID and other international donor organizations, international and local NGOs and communities to effectively implement its projects. World Vision works in more than 200 communities in Shirak, Aragatsotn, Gegharkunik, Syunik, Tavush and Lori marzes and Yerevan, serving more than 33,000 children and their families.