Internet Center at the Culture House of Armenian Society of Blinds

In 2012, the Internet Society of Armenia applied to the International Internet Society for a grant to create an Internet center for people with vision impairment in the Culture House of the Armenian Society of Blinds. The issue is that initially the internet center had been established in the building of Main Postal Service which appeared to be not a right place (limited physical access to the building, crowded neighborhood with few transport provided, etc.). After thorough analysis of the situation the Culture House of Armenian Society of Blinds was selected. The administration received the news enthusiastically. The Culture House is located in a district where blind and visually impaired people live historically, where there is a park zone, and where used to be a special plant for those people to work. 

The International Internet Society awarded a 10,000 USD worth community grant and the Internet Society of Armenia added 2,500 USD. The grant period was one year.

 In parallel, the initiative group of Internet Society and Culture House started to develop the concept of transforming the Culture House into a Rehabilitation Center for blind persons. The rehabilitation has been meant to take place in three main directions: sporting, information and, of course, cultural. The information technologies have been allocated to the third floor.

 The photographs depicting the process of creation of the first block of the Internet center can be found here. With the grant proceeds two premises were renovated – the center itself and a recreation room adjacent to it. Also, 6 computers, tables and office chairs were purchased. Two more computers, a color printer, air conditioner, drinking water apparatus and furniture items were donated to the center by a US organization International Relief and Development (IRD).

 Opening of the center took place in April 2012. At the end of May the center was honored by presence of the First Lady of Armenia Mrs. Rita Sargsyan accompanied by the famous writer Zori Balayan, Minister of Culture Mrs. Hasmik Poghosyan, Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Affairs Mrs. Jemma Baghdasaryan and others.

 In September 2013 Mrs. Rita Sargsyan invited the President of Union of Armenians of Russia Mr. Ara Abrahamyan to visit the center. He committed himself to complete reconstruction-renovation of the Culture House.

 Thus, a small grant for establishing an internet center for blinds triggered an entire process resulting in creation of a wonderful rehabilitation center for blinds which will serve as a platform for connecting to the world!

The internet center once established in the building of Main Postal Services will also relocate to this House of Culture thus increasing its capacity.