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Embassy of the United States of America Office of Public Affairs Baku, Azerbaijan 83, Azadlıq Prospekti Phone: +(99412) 498 03 35 AZ1007 Bakı, Azerbaycan Fax: +(99412) 498 93 12 Email: HuseynguliyevMM URL: http://baku.usembassy.gov/ 10.07.2007 PR/CCSP/11 PRESS RELEASE HANDOVER CEREMONY On July 9, 2007, a signing ceremony turned over the Shuvelan Children and Family Support Center from Save the Children to the State Committee for Family, Women and Children’s Issues of the Azerbaijan Republic. This handover continues the cooperation between the government and Save the Children to ensure the permanence of this center which provides unique support for vulnerable families and children, by including its activities within the Government Framework. The Shuvelan Children and Family Support Center is one of three centers supported by USAID and implemented by Save the Children Federation in partnership with United Aid for Azerbaijan within the Community-based Children’s Support Program. Launched in October 2004, the Community-based Children’s Support Program promotes the full integration of vulnerable children into society and develops community capacity to care for these children in three areas of Azerbaijan – Mingechevir, Goranboy and Shuvelan. Providing community development activities, family supports services, and children’s services, the centers aim to prevent factors that lead to institutionalization and facilitate the children’s return to their families. Through the activities of the centers, Save the Children aspires to demonstrate community- based alternatives for institutional care that are included within the overall government program for de-institutionalization and alternative care. Joining together, Save the Children and the State Committee for Family, Women and Children’s Issues implement various projects that address children’s issues. In order for the centers to continue to provide support to the communities they serve, Save the Children is transferring all three centers to the Azerbaijan Government to initiate their involvement with alternative methods of social assistance to children as exemplified in the centers. The next handover ceremony of Goranboy Center will take place on July 12, 2007. Opening the ceremony, Hijran Hajiyeva, Chairwoman of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children’s Issues, made a congratulatory speech for this occasion, noting that the establishment and handover of these centers is an important step towards the support and protection of vulnerable children within the implementation of the State program on De- institutionalization and Alternative Care. Save the Children’s Country Office Director, Geof Giacomini, emphasized the critical roles of the center towards deinstitutionalization. Mr. Giacomini specifically underlined that the handover does not mean the completion of the program, but rather the beginning of a close cooperation between the State Committee, NGOs and other government agencies toward creating and improving new alternative support services for vulnerable families and children. The Deputy Head of the local Executive Committee, Alakbar Heydarov, also expressed the Executive Committee’s support to the Shuvelan Children and Family Support Center and his hope that similar centers can be established by the State Committee in the future. Joining in with congratulations for the handover, the President of the Union of Azerbaijani and Turkish Businessmen (ATIB), Ahmad Erentok emphasized recent achievements the State Committee has obtained within the short time since its inception, using today’s ceremony as a distinctive example. Ilham Mammadov and Lala Abbasova, Parliament Members; Hanaa Singer, UNICEF Azerbaijan Representative; Sevinj Hasanova, Deputy Minister of Economic Development; Adam Onal, Baku-Turkish Private Lyceum Director, Representatives of Embassy of Turkey, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Cabinet of Ministers and National Research Center, UNFPA and USAID representatives and also other local government officials were also present for the signing ceremony. Representatives of the local centers such as “Rainbow”, the “Dajallar” Association of People with Down Syndrome, and Place of Hope also attended the ceremony. Following the opening speeches, poems, dances, and other songs and performances by children who benefit from the Shuvelan Center’s activities continued the ceremony. For a fitting end to the event, guests toured through the center, able to observe for themselves children involved in activities similar to the ones daily facilitated by the center. For more information about Save the Children (www.savethechildren.org), UAFA (www.uafa.org.uk) and USAID (www.usaid.gov), please visit their websites. For more information about this event, please contact Sevinj Askerova, Information Coordinator at Save the Children Federation: (012) 498 02 13 or 493 73 48.
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