Volunteering in Armenia was one of the most inspiring experiences I have ever had.
Volunteering after about 20 years of working for a salary is an absolutely beautiful feeling. You are open to doing anything required at the moment at a job site, big or little, but help and change. And you don’t have expectations; you don’t have career ambitions; you are just making the job you can do. Any job.
I came to Armenia consciously because this country has been my love from first sight. And was happy to be helpful. I decided to do things outside my working experience (sales management and marketing). I’m so happy I took the volunteering idea seriously, and I envy those who do it just at the start of their career. It was good luck to find AVC, the people serving the country and making it in the best possible way for volunteers worldwide and those organizations demanding help.
AVC is founded to bring change to Armenia. And I wanted to work in organizations that have a strategic impact on the country, those which either help save and promote Armenian culture and heritage or in the organizations that bring new progressive and useful knowledge that helps people to live and work on their lands, inspire society and communities to make a change. That’s how I got to Silva Kaputikyan home museum and Green lane training center. And I never regret this choice. I met passionate people loving their jobs and country and could open up a lot about Armenia and live through happenings and events together. Which made me more connected to Armenia.
And if you want to know more about the country, don’t miss going to a museum dedicated to someone you know too little or nothing about and actually have no interest in. You will get much more than you can expect; you will sometimes meet centuries of history and culture through the story of one meaningful person for the country’s citizens; it will make you ask so many more questions and continue to discover its life. That is how it was and is for me with the Silva Kaputikyan museum. It’s hard to undervalue it.
Many asked me why to work for free. So, there is the answer; it’s not for free; it’s just not shaped by money; it is something that becomes part of you in the end.
In the museum, I wrote a tour in Russian and English, helped to make a translation of one book into Russian, and participated in the preparation of issuing a book about S. Kaputikyan.
In Green Lane, I helped prepare and conduct harvest festivals and pumpkin days and was helping hands in agriculture work. And I enjoyed it. Fresh air, sun, the green area around, and so friendly and open people, just every single person. Exotic crops grown in Green Lane are just proof that everything is possible if you have an idea; it’s not necessary to have fertile soil for it; for a start, it’s enough to have a mission, passion, and enthusiasm, and you can move mountains. With Green Lane, I’ve got an opportunity to travel to their center in the Tavush region and participate in international conferences – you never know what you will meet going to a job site.
I served for four months and didn’t want to stop. And I recommend to everyone to have this experience at least once in life. I hope to repeat it again.
I thank everyone who made this experience possible, those obvious and not that much. And AVC people separately express and prove proper care about volunteers mostly coming to Armenia for the first time, which is a different world to most countries. They do so much to feel you integrated into local life and paradigm and get into it as deeply as possible: always meaningful excursions, discussions, film watching, Armenian language classes, dances – so much – and always there is connection: past, present and future. That’s why I believe in Armenia.
And let God be with Armenia.