STEPANAKERT—The Tufenkian Foundation’s “Science labs for every school in Artsakh” online fundraiser raised more than 17 million AMD (more than 44,000 USD). Thanks to the overwhelming support of the online campaign, the Foundation will provide biology and chemistry laboratory equipment to every school in Artsakh.
The fundraiser, which launched this summer, came after the success of the Foundation’s 2021 biology laboratory kit distribution to all 29 schools across Artsakh’s Martuni region.
Unfortunately, schools in Artsakh are under-resourced, with most having no laboratory equipment for students to learn about the sciences first-hand through experimentation. To address this issue, the Tufenkian Foundation donated biology laboratory kits to all 29 schools in the Martuni region last fall. These kits were designed to integrate with the 7th-grade biology curriculum, supporting specific assignments throughout the school year. The kits include equipment designed to be used outside the classroom, enabling students to collect and analyze their own samples.
Feedback from the Martuni Regional School Administration and direct input from the teachers and the students was overwhelmingly positive. Based on this feedback, the Tufenkian Foundation decided to expand the school science laboratory initiative to include every school in Artsakh, as well as to include chemistry lab kits in addition to biology.
“The students enjoy participating in the hands-on lessons since they can see and do everything themselves,” explained Herher village’s Alice Siserian Elementary School 7th grade science teacher, Lusine Arakelyan. According to her, the students have been much more engaged in the classroom since her school received a portable biology laboratory kit last September. “Lessons are much more interesting and enjoyable this way,” she added.
Beyond the passive experience of learning through classroom instruction or a textbook, laboratory work helps create a real-world association with the information being conveyed. By actively engaging the students in the learning experience, laboratory work also helps to better reach students who learn more effectively by working hands-on or collaboratively.
The biology kits include microscopes, slides with specimen samples, blank slides, Petri dishes, a mortar and pestle, chemical cups, and other materials. These kits, designed and built by Aleksandr and Tigran Yesayan, the grandson and great-grandson of famed Armenian writer Zabel Yesayan, are currently being constructed and will be delivered in the coming weeks. Now that the fundraising campaign has successfully reached its goal, the chemistry lab kits will be ordered and delivered in early 2023.
This program will reach thousands of students throughout Artsakh. Among the most important benefits of this program will be the opportunity for students to augment what they learn in the classroom with real-world, first-hand experience, hopefully engendering a greater interest in the sciences. It also provides students who learn more effectively by doing or working with others a chance to explore science in a way in which they can more efficiently process the subject matter.
“We are grateful to each donor who gave to this important project. The Foundation would like to especially thank long-time Tufenkian supporters Judy Saryan and Victor Zaroukian, as well as the Hovsep Charitable Foundation, for their generous gifts,” said Tufenkian Foundation public relations director Rupen Janbazian. The chemistry kits will bear the name of Sarkis Saryan, thanks to a generous donation by his children. Sarkis (1911-2001) was a 60-year member of the American Chemical Society and is listed in American Men of Science.
“We are happy to have worked with the reArmenia on this campaign. reArmenia is a platform where Armenians worldwide can collaborate, and we look forward to working with them in the future,” Janbazian added. Learn more about reArmenia here: https://rearmenia.com/en/about.