The three cheesemaker volunteers at "Shen"
Christophe, Alexander, and Martin joined us this year as volunteers with the help of the "Birthright Armenia" Foundation. In Meghrashat village of the Amasia community, they volunteered in the "Hyusisi Panir" women's cooperative, which mainly produces traditional chechil cheese.
During the volunteering, the guys were involved in various cheese production activities. The cooperative members taught them the nuances of work with love, and the guys were satisfied that they contributed to their ancestral homeland's development. Here is the story of each of them separately.
I՛m the first to visit Armenia in my family
"My name is Christophe Kaplo. I am a 28-year-old pharmacist from Montreal, Canada. Both my parents are Armenian from Egypt, and I am the first person to visit Armenia in my family. I did not want to visit the country as a tourist. Rather, I wanted to actively participate in bettering our country's future and decided to volunteer. "Shen" is an organization that aligns with my values. I feel fortunate to have been given the opportunity to help local families during my time in Armenia. Until now, I have no regrets, and I deeply cherish the experiences I have lived."
To discover my Armenian identity
"My name is Alexander Aro. I am 23 years old. I am from Paris, France. Since May, I have volunteered in Gyumri, Armenia, with Depi Hayk (Birthright Armenia). I came to Armenia intending to discover more about my Armenian identity, as for the language, the culture, our homeland, and the local people. Volunteering in Armenia is an opportunity given to me to have a unique professional and personal experience. I hope that working there helps the people as much as possible than the chance it gives me. I am very grateful to be in Armenia."
I wanted to connect with the people
“I am Martin Analian from Córdoba, Argentina. I was motivated to come not just as a tourist but to live in Armenia for some time. I wanted to connect with the people, to know everyday life, and to talk and exchange experiences, stories, and time. I was lucky to participate in 2 "Shen" NGO projects: first, in the cheese production industry. This experience was advantageous for me, mainly for the people I met and the experience and knowledge I gained. The second was participating in a youth camp for a week as a leader. I would spend these days with great kids, playing with them, talking, organizing activities, and much more. Getting along with kids in Armenia was one of my most incredible experiences. "Shen" NGO gave me the opportunity to know another side of Armenia, one of the most authentic."
We give great importance to the involvement of Diaspora volunteers in our programs. We are especially excited when they finish their mission in Armenia with a profound positive impression like Christof, Alexander, and Martin, and they feel a special connection with their homeland. Every year we eagerly await the arrival of new volunteers and gladly involve them in our various programs.