Birthright Armenia Celebrates Five Years In Gyumri

09.08.2011 13:23

One of the main goals of Birthright Armenia has always been to afford
diasporan youth insight into Armenia’s potential as a nation and to
illuminate the limitless ways in which participants can be a part
of Armenia’s bright future. Cultural and economic issues and needs
exist across Armenia, but the degree of severity differs from place
to place based on access to resources. In 2007, Birthright Armenia
conceived of a way to provide human resources to areas of Armenia
where they are most needed-outside of the capital city of Yerevan.

In this effort to immerse volunteers more completely in the
experience of life outside of the increasingly metropolitan capital
city, Birthright Armenia created the Gyumri program and, during the
program’s first summer, sent 27 volunteers 120 kilometers northwest
of their Yerevan office to live and work in Armenia’s second-largest
city. Since the program’s inception, the organization has sent 115
volunteers-nearly 20% of the total number of participants to date-to
Gyumri, offering them the opportunity to give back to their homeland
in a way that many Gyumri-based volunteers have found to be strikingly
different from the experience of their Yerevan-based peers.

The Gyumri program mirrors the Yerevan program with regard to its
function and services; volunteers in Gyumri participate in forums,
social havaks, language classes, and excursions, as well as having
access to a successful homestay program, thanks to the hospitality
and warmth that the Gyumretsis have extended toward volunteers since
the moment they began to arrive in 2007.

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