Aleppo Compatriotic Charitable Organization’s (Aleppo-NGO) executive board extend its deepest gratitude to all the organizations and individuals who contributed towards the financing of Krikor Astabanian’s life saving heart surgery.
In late August 2019, Krikor, the flower seller of Aleppo, was diagnosed with an ischemic heart disease which required an urgent open-heart surgery. On September 25, 2019, Aleppo-NGO embarked upon an online and face to face fundraising campaign to raise the $10,000 needed to finance the heart operation and other medical expenses. Thanks to the support of several organizations and individuals from around the world, Aleppo-NGO was able to reach its fundraising target.
In late November 2019, Krikor was admitted to the hospital and underwent his open heart surgery. Following the successful surgery, he was hospitalized for approximately 10 days and then released but asked to engage in house rest for approximately one month. Since the New Year, Krikor has returned to work on a part-time basis and is currently trying to acquire a grant to re-launch his dream business of selling flowers in Armenia.
The additional funds raised for Krikor’s medical expenses and heart surgery will be provided to Krikor on a monthly basis (for 12 months) as he recovers from his heart operation.
Donors and Supports (Organizations):
Upon hearing of Krikor’s urgent medical needs, Mr. Harut Sassounian, President of the Armenia Artsakh Fund, and Ms. Nouritza Abujamra, Program Director at Armenia Artsakh Fund, did not remain indifferent towards Krikor’s medical condition. Through their efforts and the support of renowned Syrian-Armenian Cardiologist Dr. Hrayr Hovakimyan, Krikor’s heart surgery was moved from Astghik Medical Center to the Nork-Marash Medical Center, which specializes in open heart surgeries, and a generous discount was provided by the Nork-Marash Medical Center’s management.
Since 2016, the Armenia Artsakh Fund has provided more than 35,000,000 AMD in livelihood support to Syrian-Armenians in Armenia through Aleppo-NGO’s Warm Winter Program.
Lead by Mr. Vazken Yacoubian, President of AGBU in Armenia, Ms. Talar Kazanjian, Executive Director of AGBU Armenia, and Mr. Hovig Eordekian, Deputy Director of AGBU Armenia, the organization contributed 750,000 AMD towards the heart surgery of Krikor Astabanian.
Since 2012, AGBU has implemented numerous projects to support Syrians in Armenia and Syria, including the provision of scholarships to hundreds of Syrians-Armenian university students. Within the framework of the Bridge for CSOs program, AGBU has also support Aleppo-NGO’s cuisine center.
The Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) contributed 250,000 AMD towards the heart operation of KrikorAstabanian. AMAA has been one of the biggest supporters of Syrian-Armenians in Armenia and has raised more than 2,000,000 ($USD) to carry out various relief projects for Syrians in both Syria and Armenia.
Through the mediation of Dr. Hovagimian, the management of Nork Marash Medical Center provided a32% discount on the medical expenses associated with Krikor’s open heart operation. At Nork Marash Medical Center, the cost of the such open heart surgeriesis usually 4,750,000 AMD while the cost of the heart rate monitor implant is 1,700,000 AMD, but the medical center decided to give a discount of 1,550,000 AMD on the surgery and an additional 500,000 AMD discount for the heart rate monitor implant.
Swiss Friends of Syrian-Armenians:
In May 2017, Aleppo-NGO’s staff met with renowned German journalist Michael Wrase, who has been covering the political developments in the Middle East for more than three decades.
Since 2017, Mr. Wrase has organized several tours for Swiss and other European tourists to visit Armenia. These customized tours do not only afford an opportunity to the tourists to visit Armenia’s rich cultural and religious sites, but also acquire an in-depth understanding of the political, economic and social developments and issues in the country, including the impact of the ‘Velvet Revolution’ and the challenges facing Syrian refugees in Armenia.
On October 13 and 24, 2019, at a Syrian restaurant in Yerevan, Aleppo-NGO’s director spoke to two groups of Swiss tourists about the challenges facing Syrians in Armenia, including the medical situation of Krikor Astabanian. Inspired by the tasty Syrian food and the urgency of the challenges facing Syrian refugees in Armenia, the two groups collectively contributed more than $1,600 towards Krikor Astabanian’s heart operation.
“The generosity and trust demonstrated by our Swiss friends was incredibly inspiring,” said Mr. Sarkis Balkhian, executive director of Aleppo-NGO. “Even though these wonderful group of individuals were on vacation, they did not put aside their moral calling and contributed generously towards the lifesaving heart surgery of a total stranger in need.”
In the past, through Mr. Wrase’s efforts, Aleppo-NGO also received donations from Swiss tourists and philanthropist, including a very generous donation of more than 5,000 Swiss Francs from Susanne and Martin Knechtli-KradolferStiftung (Foundation). That amount was used to provide monthly financial assistance to vulnerable Syrian-Armenian families as well as school supplies to more than 130 Syrian children.
Individual Donors (Arranged Alphabetically):
Upon learning about Krikor’s urgent need to have open heart surgery, dozens of individuals from around the world rallied to support Aleppo-NGO’s fundraising campaign to facilitate the heart surgery. Below is the list of all the individual donors who contributed towards Krikor’s medical expenses. Several donors requested to remain anonymous.
Mr. and Mrs. Ashot-Lora Tunians
Mr. and Mrs. Avedis-Rita Karagulians
Mr. and Mrs. George-Alice Bertigians
Mr. and Mrs. Hagop Balian
Mr. and Mrs. Mher-Gacia Keshishians
Mr. and Mrs. Mihran-Ani Balkhian
Mr. and Mrs. Paul-Rachel Nadjarian
Mr. and Mrs. Koko-Nayiri Shekoian
Tyler and Pamela Fincher