On 7th December 1988, Armenia was hit by a magnitudo-6,9 quake which caused 25.000 victims, ten thousand evacuees and significant damages to the infrastructure.
For the will of Pope John Paul II, in 1991, the Italian Caritas built the hospital “Redemptoris Mater” to give concrete help to Armenian people affected by the earthquake.
The hospital is managed by Camillian Religious who transformed it into the only institution of the country offering free qualified healthcare for poor people. It is equipped with modern tools and many specialist clinics and performs every year around 17.000 consultations.
The hospital also set up 22 clinics in as many villages of the area. Through home visits it is possible to analyse the extreme poverty conditions in which hundreds of families live. Better local knowledge was an input to start programs to fight poverty such as primary education for children together with a financial aid for families to purchase essential goods.
In Armenia, poverty strongly affects rural areas, whose situation has become even more serious after the recession. The gap between city and countryside is very wide. Social inequalities and exclusion lead to disparities in terms of income, social, economic, political and civil opportunities. The country developed disproportionately: there is a huge gap between Yerevan and rural areas like Ashotsk, where the hospital is located.
Ensuring the right to study to an increasing number of children who live in complex familiar contexts, develops both in them and in the environment around, a greater and better preparation towards a community life. Education is an essential condition to grant a better future for these children, because it significantly contributes to take them away from marginalisation.