|Established in 1906 by Bohos Nubar in Cairo, Armenian General Benevolent Union has the mission to encourage the Armenian national development in intellectual, moral and economic aspect.
In the first years of its lifespan, the organisation put all of its financial resources to ensure immediate help in the distressed regions during the Genocide carried out by the Turkish government over the Armenian people (1896 – 1915). The dispatch of food, medicines, tents and clothes, the construction of orphanages, hospitals and shelters for those saved from the massacres in 1915, is the priceless contribution of “Parekorzagan” in the fight for survival of the Armenian nation.
Years after the horrible events, the benevolent organisation continues to work for the recovery of the forced disruption in the normal development of the Armenian nation. The Union engages in the process of repatriation of the survivors from the massacres, raises funds for construction of towns in Armenia, where the refugees can settle. Furthermore, AGBU builds new schools, clinics and humanitarian centres.
Nowadays “Parekorzagan” directs its efforts towards popularisation of the Armenian cultural and historic heritage and strengthening of the Armenian self-awareness in the Diaspora. Significant resources are also invested in improving the living standard in Armenia. Educational, benevolent and cultural programmes, incorporated within an annual budgetary framework of USD 28mn, represent the main activities of the organisation.
The headquartrs of “Parekorzagan” is located in New York and the incumbent president is Mr. Berge Setrakian. At present the Armenian General Benevolent Union has branches in 22 countries worldwide, one of them being Bulgaria.
Still in 1910 was set up the first “Parekorzagan” centre in Bulgaria. The founder was the branch in Plovdiv and in Sofia the organisation was launched in 1930. The main activity of the Union at that time was to financially support those who wish to return to Armenia as well as to provide material and moral assistance for studious young Armenians. “Parekorzagan” generates the resources for accomplishments of these goals through individual donations, charitable balls and concerts. Help for the humanitarian campaigns also come from abroad.
In 1948 Armenian General Benevolent Union “Parekorzagan” was politically forced to cease operations in Bulgaria for 45 years. The functioning of the organisation is re-launched in 1992 on the initiative of Ms. Sevda Sevan, the first chairwoman of the restored branch of “Parekorzagan” – Sofia. At present the Union has centres in Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna as well as associated branches in Silistra, Haskovo, Sliven, Yambol, Dobrich.
The Bulgarian unit of “Parekorzagan” each year provides financial benefits for Armenian students, organises concerts, exhibitions, charitable balls, publishes Armenian books, supports weekend Armenian schools, musical and dance ensembles.
Since 1995 chairwoman of Armenian General Benevolent Union “Parekorzagan” – Sofia has been Ms. Sonia Avakian-Bedrosian. The Sofia branch tallies 115 members, it has youth section and enjoys good material base for fulfilment of its goals. Furthermore, the Union actively works for popularisation of the Armenian culture in Bulgaria.
The attraction of young, educated and motivated Armenians to work for the betterment of the Armenian community is one of the key priorities in the work of the chairwoman of the Sofia branch Ms. Sonia Avakian-Bedrosian and her collaborators. In this particular mission “Parekorzagan” – Sofia remains one of the most modern, as well as wide open to the world and to the progress, organisation of the Armenians in Bulgaria.