In late 2009, Ara Chackerian and his father, Richard, visited Armenia, the country from which their family emigrated. During that trip, the father and son duo were introduced to an orphanage full of potential but lacking in resources. After visiting the center, Ara and Richard determined that there was an unfulfilled need for mentoring among the local orphans. Upon their return, the Chackerians developed a business plan to solve the lack of accessibility in support systems as well as educational resources for orphans. It was this trip that was the catalyst for finding Nor Luyce (New Light).
Nor Luyce, a mentoring program, was created to assist young women on their transition from being an orphan to a self-supporting adult. The organization has had a remarkable track record of success and continues to help transition adolescent girls into constructive members of the community. Ara sits on the organization’s board of directors and has been the primary funding source for the program since its inception.
WHY NOR LUYCE (NEW LIGHT)?
Each of us carries a story. So does Nor Luyce NGO. We invite you to read below the story that is behind the creation of the name Nor Luyce…
“Nor Luyce, which means ‘new light’ in Armenian comes from Arshalous, an Armenian woman. Now, you may ask, “Who is or who was Arshalous?” Arshalous was born in Constantinople, Turkey, in 1908. Alongside her parents and four siblings, she migrated to the United States in 1920. Like many other Armenians at the time, her family was escaping the genocide.
Arshalous was very independent and had been that way from a very young age. Despite making the difficult assimilation into another culture, she never forgot her homeland and often told stories about what life was like in Constantinople. She loved to describe the journey between Constantinople and the Golden Horn — Armenians weren’t allowed to sit on certain ferry deck benches, but Arshalous had a clever way of bypassing this. She would wait for a foreign visitor to sit down and then sit next to them, knowing that the Turkish authorities would never force her to move in the visitor’s presence.
The majority of Arshalous’ life was spent tirelessly managing the family’s household, and she was known for her astuteness when it came to managing the finances of her house and her father’s small grocery store. She would often say that if it weren’t for her managing the money, everyone would be wondering where the next meal would come from.
Despite her tough exterior, Arshalous was a very caring person who would always go the extra mile to help an isolated individual in need of help. These heroic acts were always done quietly, never demanding credit from others.
This kind-hearted, brave, and inspiring woman was the mother of the president and co-founder of Nor Luyce NGO, Richard Chackerian, as well as the grandmother of the organization’s main donor, Ara Chackerian.”