New Year is happy and memorable when celebrated with family and loved ones. However, around 49,900* elderly will be celebrating the New Year alone. Around 13.5% of pensioners in Armenia live alone and this number keeps changing. Galaxy Group of Companies, with its 15 companies, hopes to change this statistic for the better. In a public service announcement video produced by the company, a kind Santa Claus, living alone (played by the 82-year-old people’s artist of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic Guzh Manukyan) is preparing the New Year table and waiting for a call. At the end of the video, the viewer hears a phone ringing which entails the protagonist will soon be joined by his family.Hundreds of Galaxy employees have decided to share their holidays with the lonely elderly and are calling on all the caring individuals to join this kind and simple initiative.
“Solidarity between the generations is an important value for us and with this year’s Christmas message, we express our respect and solidarity for our elderly, thus making our modest contribution to ensuring dignity in the old age,” said Gurgen Khachatryan, Chairperson of the Ucom board of directors and co-founder of Galaxy Group of Companies, at the official launch of the social campaign.
The campaign slogan is “Share your warmth, join the campaign of solicitude” and it brings together over 3,000 team members from Galaxy’s 15 companies. As the slogan indicates, the campaign is not about materialistic assistance but rather about attitude and attention.The elderly living alone are not always poor.As the first step, the group of companies directed its attention to more than 600 elderly living in 2 state-owned and 5 private care institutions in Yerevan and other regions. Under the scope of the project, a needs assessment was carried out and the elderly residing in said institutions have received the necessary supplies for a year.
At the same time, Galaxy emphasizes that the significant resources spent on meeting the needs of more than 600 elderlies would have no meaning if it weren’t for the human factor and enthusiasm. For example, one of the teams made pastries for the elderly, another team made socks, others wrote postcards in addition to the gifts, and the “tastiest” team set aside some favorite candy “for the soul”. After the official launch of the campaign today, the first 105 enthusiasts went out to share their gifts and their time with the grandmas and grandpas.
“With this project we are hoping to reconfirm our values for our teams, first of all. Not what we do but what we believe in. What are the values that unite the staff from different companies into one big team? This is the question that we answer with our ongoing social responsibility programs,” said Elmira Hovhannissyan, Galaxy Group of Company’s human resource director. She expressed hope that Galaxy’s example will be contagious and many people will continue to share warmth with their neighbors—familiar and unfamiliar elderly people—not only on New Year’s Eve but also throughout the year.
The social campaign targeting the elderly can be found on the Internet under the hashtag #BecauseWeCare. The campaign is the initiative of Ucomand IUnetworks, Yerevan Mall, Capitan kid and KinoPark, TI’ME, Pandora and Chronograph, Megafood, Megasport and Megatoys, Pahest 33 and Santafe teams, together with the Galaxy Group of Company’s team. Many well-known individuals and active social network users have already joined the campaign.
Galaxy Group of Companies was founded in 1999. Since then, the 6-people team has become the largest employer in Armenia with more than 3,000 highly-paid employees and a consumer base of over one million people. The group of companies, together with its units, is one of the largest taxpayers in the country, having paid 13 billion drams in taxes in 2018 alone.
Galaxy’s social responsibility portfolio takes up a significant part of the company’s profits. It is used to promote education, innovation and art in order to improve people’s lives. Social responsibility programs have also included large-scale projects to improve border security, investments into regional and community infrastructures, and an annual New Year initiative targeting a particular vulnerable group.
*Source: National Statistics Service, number of beneficiaries of social service, Breavis research company’s data, 2019. 13.5% of the pension age population lives alone. In 2009-2019, their number ranged from 35,671 to 69,341. Possible deviation up to 6%.