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Elton John AIDS Foundation Supports Hearing Aid Efforts in Armenia

May 27, 2018

In May, we had our second Phase 2 mission in Armenia with close Foundation friend, Elton John and his husband, David Furnish. It was an incredible mission in the beautiful city of Yerevan, the capital of Armenia at the Save the Children, Armenia headquarters. Also in attendance of this special mission day was President of the Armenian General Assembly, Dr. Ara Babloyan, and President of the Republic of Armenia, Armen Sarkissian. Dr. Babloyan has been crucial to the development of the Starkey Hearing Foundation program in Armenia through his local foundation, the ARABKIR United Children’s Charity Foundation, which provides primary medical services to the children of Armenia. ARABKIR is the local partner organization that helps provide support, ENT services, and AfterCare office space for the local Starkey Hearing Foundation team. The Foundation was also thankful to have the Kavoukjian family serving with us during this mission, The Kavoukjians: Heidi, Armen, Arthur, Aram, Greg and Vaghan helped bring us to Armenia with generous support from their Los Angeles based business ComfortCare and the support of their family and friends through their charity, the Armenia Hearing Aid Project. Along with volunteers from the United Kingdom, we were able to serve nearly 1,000 patients during our three-day mission.

After a successful day in Yerevan, the Starkey Hearing Foundation team spent the next two days serving patients in Tsaghkadzor, Armenia, which is famous for skiing, having served as a training site for Olympic athletes. However, because it was late spring, the facilities would normally be empty, but instead were infused with new life as a perfect space for a Starkey Hearing Foundation mission. We even worked with Actitour Armenia and the Tsaghkadzor Marriott to creatively convert two outdoor tennis courts into an ideal mission site. The large, custom-made tents used to cover the site created a festive, airy atmosphere giving the appearance that a Starkey circus was in town!

The team in attendance rivaled the U.N. as we had representation from the USA, U.K., India, Ireland, Poland, Palestine, Syria, Lesotho and Zambia. The team worked hard with the energetic local Armenian volunteers to deliver the gift of hearing to hundreds of grateful Armenians each day. The newly established local Starkey Hearing Foundation team was adept in their leadership, pulling off a seemingly flawless mission, despite adverse challenges. What is evident among Armenians, is how proud they are of their culture and rich history. They proved to be fantastic hosts, helping to ensure more successful hearing missions in Armenia in the future.

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