Making a Significant Leap as an AVC Volunteer
After living in Armenia for several years, I decided to extend my stay and contribute as a volunteer, leveraging my medical expertise during my internship at university hospitals. I stumbled upon AVC on social media and decided to apply. This choice turned out to be one of the best I’ve ever made. Joining AVC transformed my experience of Armenia, allowing me to immerse myself in the places where my help was needed and explore different regions alongside fellow volunteers.
Evolving my Professional Skills
My journey as a volunteer commenced at a geriatric healthcare center. There, I had the privilege of offering medical assistance and applying my skills alongside other doctors and nurses. This experience exposed me to diverse patients with psychological and neurological disorders, significantly contributing to my growth as a physician. Despite the relatively short period, I found tremendous fulfillment in learning and lending a hand.
Embracing New Challenges
However, AVC presented me with another opportunity through an introduction to the FOR YOU NGO at a Christmas party organized by a fellow volunteer, Ardem. Witnessing their need for support with a therapy program for disabled children and their daily activities at the Specialized Children’s Home of Kharberd, I decided to volunteer once again. Over time, I recognized that these children faced unique challenges and required unconventional solutions. Consequently, I introduced them to yoga, drawing upon my knowledge in the field.
In my first yoga class, I noticed these children struggled to focus or maintain closed-eye poses for over a minute. Gradually, I tailored specific yoga exercises and postures to enhance their concentration, focus, and overall well-being. The transformation in their responses and behavior throughout continuous yoga sessions was remarkable, and I had the privilege of nurturing some exceptional students. Most importantly, I was able to make a positive impact on their lives.
I also had the opportunity to join a horse therapy team working with children dealing with disorders such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, and various anatomical difficulties. The people on this team were some of the most remarkable individuals I’ve ever encountered. During this period, I forged meaningful friendships, even with the horses.
One of the most cherished aspects of volunteering with AVC was the chance to embark on excursions with fellow volunteers. These journeys allowed me to explore different regions in this breathtakingly mountainous country more extensively than ever before. My passion for travel and exploration grew stronger as I continued to volunteer with AVC.
A Never-Ending Journey
Throughout this time, I not only grew as a person but also as a doctor. I gained a profound appreciation for my work, recognizing the importance of professional recognition. I received that recognition from my workplace, affirming the value of my contributions. This journey has been a beautiful, never-ending adventure, signifying that I will return to Hayastan, and my story will continue to be written.
For those considering a visit to Armenia, I promise many surprises await you. Take the leap and dive in!
Balachandar Selvaraj is a recent graduate from the Yerevan State Medical University. During his internship, he worked in various hospitals and participated in volunteering activities across Armenia. He joined AVC’s Student Corps in 2022, volunteering at Alpha Beta Clinic, a geriatric clinic, for a few months. After attending an annual holiday party initiated by an alumnus, he decided to join AVC again in 2023, this time volunteering and working with the same children he met as a participant during the holiday Community Service Project at For You NGO.