Shen has started implementing social infrastructure rehabilitation projects since the beginning of 90ies of XX century. The selection of a specific social project is based on the principle that it has to be linked to further economic development of the community. The basic principle for Shen intervention in this area is mandatory substantial contribution of the community in the social infrastructure rehabilitation projects. Social infrastructure in rural areas of Armenia usually includes community centres, kindergartens, secondary schools, drinking water supply network, garbage collection services, and some other infrastructures that satisfy the daily needs of the local population.
The community centres in Armenia may accommodate the local municipality (village mayor's office), public entertainment room(s), conference hall, various art clubs, computer centre, etc. Almost all villages have buildings of municipality centres, mostly constructed during Soviet period. However, in 90ies of the last century they all needed major renovation.
After the independence village kindergartens were passed on to local municipalities. However because of scarce resources most of village kindergartens stopped operating. The non-operation of those kindergartens brought to further deterioration of its buildings. Thus in many beneficiary villages renovation and operation of kindergartens also allows rural women to get jobs. In the regions where agriculture is more developed or some non-farming industries exist working women can earn as much as men. This means the women free of taking care of their children can work and thus complement to the income of families.
Drinking water is one of the most acute problems of rural Armenia due to several reasons the deteriorated pipelines being the major one. Shen carries out projects on rehabilitation of old and/or construction of new pipelines in its beneficiary rural communities to ensure one of the basic standards of livelihoods.
Shen takes care of recreation and education of children from poor families. In 1999 we established Children's Recreation Centre in Yeghnajour, Shirak marz, based in the local school building that Shen reconstructed for that purpose. To date annually about 150 beneficiary children from Gyumri and other towns of Shirak marz have their pastime at the Centre enjoying fresh air, healthy food and having fun of working in the farm.
The youth in many communities is mostly involved in seasonal jobs meaning that they have enough spare time. In order to make it healthy and effective Shen builds and/or renovates village gyms and athletic arenas thus drastically improving the quality of life in the villages. Another argument in favour for constructing/renovating gyms and athletic arenas in rural areas is the fact that school children because of lack of sport facilities are deprived to enjoy their spare time.
Construction or rehabilitation of rural medical aid posts and equipping them, as well as providing necessary training to nurses has always been one of priorities of Shen NGO.
Since 2011 the Union of French-Armenian Doctors of Paris (UMAF) with support of Shen implements the Glasses for Armenia annual programme. So far residents from Aragatsotn, Vayots Dzor, Gegharkunik, Tavush and Syunik provinces became the beneficiaries of the project. The French doctors prepare and provide on-site the prescription glasses to the children who beforehand pass eyesight checks. The project serves also the elderly population thus providing them free of charge glasses. Over these years more than 1,500 children and 8,000 adults had received glasses.