Diaspora Youth for Armenia
Today Armenia needs the Diaspora more than ever before. The two disasters from 2020, the pandemic and the war, had a devastating effect, especially on rural communities. Human losses, deteriorating economic situation, hopelessness… The wounds are still fresh, and it seems that nothing can comfort and alleviate this situation.
Help from AYO
Despite the difficulties, Shen NGO continues its various programs with more effort. In the current situation, the problems in the communities have multiplied, and every help is of great importance. It is more inspiring when the support comes from the Diaspora, especially from its young representatives.
This year we got help from the French organization AYO (Armenian Youth Organization) with over 100 years of history. For the last ten years, young people have been visiting a community in Armenia every year and renovating a school or a kindergarten on their own. This time the young volunteers joined us in Shenavan community of Lori region to organize the renovation of a kindergarten that has not been operating for about 30 years. They provided the funds they raised and their direct participation.
Our Village Filled with the Sun
"After the war, we had victims in our village. And then the village became gloomy, and no one had a smile on their face, and even the children were not gathering to play. But as soon as our French volunteers came, our village filled with the Sun", tell the young people from Shenavan.
All this also happened because parallel to the renovation works, AYO volunteers organized a 3-week summer camp. Here the children from Shenavan got engaged in various games, painting lessons, learned French and taught the French volunteers Armenian. Yes, French volunteers, because only 7 of 14 volunteers who arrived were French Armenians, and the other 7 were French interested in Armenia.
"I had Armenian classmates, so I decided to come and volunteer to get to know Armenia. I loved the warmth and hospitality of the Armenians. I seem to be a member of their family. Of course, we didn't bring them big gifts or money, but we see that this communication is what the children need," says Elizabeth, a French volunteer.
I will definitely come again!
During the many years of our projects, we have had many opportunities to cooperate with Armenian Diaspora youth. We have always appreciated their contribution and assistance to the implementation of many programs in the communities. The communities, in their turn, have always warmly welcomed both individual volunteers and groups.
"We are hosted here as if we are locals. We must always do such things for Armenian children. I will definitely come again! Like an Armenian, it is my duty to come and be useful to my homeland", says Roman, a French-Armenian volunteer.
Roman will definitely come again. We in Shen NGO are ready to accept volunteers like him from all over the Diaspora if they want to be involved in our programs and be helpful to the communities of Armenia.