In May 1995, the Armenian Catholic Church, headed by Msgr. Nerses Archb. Der- Nersessian, the Gyumri-based Ordinary of Armenian Catholics in Armenia, Georgia, and Eastern Europe, founded Armenian Caritas in Gyumri, Shirak region.
In 1996, a Board of Directors, consisting of a president and six other members, was established and given the task of formulating the strategy of the organization and supervising its implementation. The organization was officially recognized by the Armenian Ministry of Justice as a local NGO in 1997. Since 1999, Armenian Caritas has become a full member of Caritas Internationalis. It is also an affiliated member of Caritas Europa and ICMC (International Catholic Migration Commission).
The first projects of Armenian Caritas were merely of a relief nature, providing basic assistance to their beneficiaries. In January of 1998, the Armenian Caritas Board of Directors elected to begin the implementation of community-based development programs. However, in order to diversify the organization’s programmatic base, its institutional capacity needed to be strengthened. This was achieved through the assistance of CRS/Armenia and CORDAID/The Netherlands.
The first activities of Armenian Caritas were merely of a relief nature; the first programs Caritas Armenia became involved in were exclusively assistance projects. In January 1998 Armenian Caritas Board of Directors decided to start the implementation of community-based development programs. Today, Armenian Caritas boasts a solid institutional base, with a clearly defined mission and strategic direction. More importantly, it maintains a strong potential for growth in order to serve its beneficiaries at an increasing capacity.