Armenian Youth Initiative

A nonprofit organization

41 donors

100% complete

$0 Goal



This year AYI continues its work with those impacted by the recent events leading to the expulsion of Armenians from their homes in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).   The scars suffered during the 44-day Artsakh war (2020) remain, with recent attacks on Armenians in Artsakh forced the Armenian population to flee.   Homes and comminities were destroyed.  Today, most Armenians are gone from their homes.  The trauma of 2020 continues today - evidenced by this widespread Armenian departure.  The Russian-brokered 'cease-fire' agreement did nothing to stop the Azerbaijan blockade of the only road connecting Armenia to Artsakh for 10 months.  Armenians were without food, medicine, supplies, and gasoline for 10 months. Human rights abuses, torture, and missing prisoners of war (2020) have been charged against the aggressors.  The architects of war act unabated and with impunity.  


Armenian Youth Initiative (AYI) was established as a Minnesota (501-C3) non-profit to provide activities and opportunities to youth and their families.  We began this initiative in the early 1990's and recently completed our 13th in-person visit serving thousands of children and families.  AYI continues to work with our partners on the ground in Armenia to support disadvantaged youth and help displaced families.   We provide essential support to many refugees, displaced persons, and local Armenians who make up a large portion of the underserved population.  I am proud to say this work continues today - focusing on the most impending needs facing our sisters and brothers in Armenia and Artsakh.  Your help continues to make a difference!  Some of our numerous initiatives include:

   * Humanitarian assistance (food, clothing, shoes, boots, school supplies, medical needs) to deprived and displaced families in collaboration with our partners (Mission Armenia, Tufenkian Foundation) in Armenia.

   * Social/cultural/educational programs that directly benefit children and families - including refugees from Azerbaijan, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, and Artsakh.  

   * Collaborative projects (Tufenkian Foundation/Mission Armenia) to advance Mental Health programs and projects to better serve those in need. Through workshops and seminars, AYI provided needed support to front-line workers, mental health professionals, social workers, youth and their families.

   *  Partner with Theatre for Changes (T4C) by providing interactive theater experiences (with social messages) for underserved Armenian youth in Armenia and Artsakh.  

   *  Provide excursions/activities for vulnerable children.  Some of these include visits to historic, cultural, and religious sites.  Often, children are afforded opportunities to experience a movie or theater performance, puppet theater, or another holiday treat. 


Over the past few years, AYI has focused on collaborating and supporting those who provide aid to others.  The current atmosphere in Armenia is less than ideal, with many social workers and program coordinators left caring for thousands of clients.  AYI has participated in professional workshops that offer strategies, tools, guidance, and support to those working with war refugees, displaced families, and a traumatized population.  It appears this mission will continue, as the need today appears greater than ever.

The uncertainty of Armenia's (Christian) future provides a chilling reminder that Armenia has existential challenges. It's effort to survive and maintain it's historic identity, it's independence in a hostile region remains an ongoing challenge.  AYI works diligently to provide hope and inspiration in the face of discouragement and despair.  Scores of children are impacted by tragic events beyond their control. Trauma, grief, anxiety, depression, and suicide are rampant.   AYI remains committed to working with our partners to address these daily challenges.

A big thank you to our partners in Armenia who work tirelessly to support youth and families.  Your hard work and commitment does not go unnoticed.   We are thankful for the generosity, compassion, and collaboration.   And a special shout-out to our donors who make our work possible.   To all of you - your support continues to makes a difference. 

"We never know what's ahead.  Hope is an investment in curiosity.  If we give up now, we'll never get to see what happens next."

Martin Meketarian, Executive Director

Armenian Youth Initiative, Autumn, 2023

Organization Data


Organization name

Armenian Youth Initiative

Tax id (EIN)



Children & Family Humanitarian Aid


PO BOX 22194
Saint Paul, MN 55122