YEREVAN, Armenia — Child poverty is currently a very prevalent issue in Armenia. Child poverty in Armenia has created physical, psychological, spiritual, emotional and intellectual damage for developing adolescents. In October 2020, a conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan erupted. This heightened the detrimental impacts of child poverty, amongst other issues. In response, Kim Kardashian West donated $1 million towards the Armenia Fund with the intention of providing relief to Armenian citizens. This notable contribution funded reparations and aid, part of which went towards impoverished children.
The impact of the fighting among the two nations threatened the livelihood of citizens in both countries, as well as the stability of the South Caucasus region. Despite previous ceasefires, this war was incredibly violent and destructive. The fighting resulted in thousands of Armenians killed and 90,000 displaced from their homes. This further exacerbated the problem of child poverty in Armenia.
Child Poverty in Armenia
Poverty is a multidimensional, overarching topic that covers so much more than being poor. Child poverty specifically embodies hunger, poor education, struggle and lack of housing. Specifically, in Armenia, child poverty is a major issue. Of the four categories listed above, UNICEF has reported that 64% of children lack two or more of these necessities in Armenia.
Additionally, UNICEF highlighted how many Armenian children do not have proper housing and utilities. According to a chart labeled, “Age Groups and Dimensions for Child Deprivation Analysis in Armenia,” the lack of housing and utilities is consistent from age 0-18.
The Effect of the 2020 Conflict
The 2020 conflict further intensified child poverty in Armenia and Azerbaijan. UNICEF reported statistics regarding both nations.
Within just the first month of fighting, reports determined the deaths of 10 children, destruction of 76 kindergartens and displacement of over 130,000 people.
These tragic outcomes only provoked the child poverty problem in Armenia. However, Kardashian West’s donation to the Armenia Fund should contribute to helping these children, as well as other displaced Armenians.
The Armenia Fund
Founded in 1994, this organization is proudly the largest Armenian humanitarian organization in the United States. The Armenia Fund’s successful creations have included a maternity ward, the national film archive and a modernized water network. Overall, the Armenia Fund focused its efforts on schools, community centers, roads and hospitals. Through these endeavors, its ultimate goal is to create a better, safer and more unified nation.
In a statement regarding the influx of donations the organization received during the 2020 conflict, the Armenia Fund specified exactly where it would implement the money (including Kardashian West’s $1 million). Given the increase in Armenian refugees, the organization diverted its attention from long-term projects to providing those in need with basic necessities. This included the acquisition and delivery of temporary shelter, food and medical care for impoverished children.
Socialite Uses Platform to Create Change
Kardashian West made headlines with her hefty donation. She received recognition from Variety Magazine, Los Angeles Times, news channels and other reputable sources. Thus, Kardashian West successfully called attention to the Armenian crisis to a range of audiences.
However, her charitable gesture was not unique in raising awareness; Kardashian West uploaded a video to Instagram sharing, “I want everyone to remember that despite the distance that separates us, we are not limited by borders and we are one global Armenian nation together.” With a platform of over 197 million followers, Kardashian West was able to educate viewers all over the world.
Moreover, this video aided with fundraising, and ultimately raised an additional $30 million to the cause. Kardashian West utilized her platform to advocate for a cause important and personal to her; in doing so, she contributed to the positive relief for Armenian refugees.
– Ella Kaplun