“I would like to come and do Birthright Armenia but my father also wants to be useful in Armenia, is it possible?” Yes, it’s possible, and we have many such cases. These past few months we welcomed father and daughter, mother and daughter, brother and sister, from different countries. For some people, making an impact with someone they know and love might make volunteering more meaningful than doing it by themselves. If you feel like you want to share this special experience with a family member, the complementarity of Birthright Armenia and Armenian Volunteer Corps allows you to do just that. So bring your sibling, parents or even grandparents—our doors are open to all the combinations!
Etienne and Taman Andikian came to Armenia together from France. Taman wanted to be useful for Armenia and decided to apply to the Birthright Armenia program. She had a “strong desire to help Armenia, and contribute with her skills and expertise to her homeland”. After a while, she encouraged her 50-year-old father to do the same – that’s how he became an AVC volunteer (age 32+ Professionals). Taman has been practicing law for 2 years and specializes in International Humanitarian Law. She worked at the Path of Law in Armenia where she helped with legal investigations and reports on the POWs.
When Piunik Keshish Banous, 23, decided to participate in Birthright Armenia, she knew from the very beginning that it would be a great opportunity to act on her Armenian identity in order to better pass it to the next generation. Piunik is interested in Biochemistry and volunteered at the National Polytechnic University of Armenia and Institute of Molecular Biology IMB NAS RA,where she worked on understanding the complexity of biochemical processes. She has grown up in a traditional Armenian family in Iran. Piunik’s story was motivational for her mother Armenoohi, who is a teacher in Tehran. Armenoohi immediately applied to AVC and currently she’s working as a designer at the Sonsation vintage accessories shop. “Just when the war started, we decided to come to our precious Armenia and help with anything we could. It allows us to feel more Armenian than we already were.”
“Armenia, Mer Hayrenik – you are not alone. We are here to help you in any way you need, and this is the essence of our happiness at this moment.”
~ Oscar and Maria
Siblings Oscar Jose and Maria Anabel Balassanian are very active volunteers. Maria was already admitted to the Birthright Armenia program when Oscar decided to join her journey through AVC because he’s older than 32. They both wanted to have a life-changing experience in Armenia and were ready to bring their best to their motherland. Currently, Oscar and Maria are living and volunteering in Gyumri. Same family but different interests: Oscar is working at the Gyumri Technology Center as a researcher, while Maria, as an artsy person, is using her skills at Kumayri Historic Museum helping with translations. “Being here today and working side by side with our fellow Armenians, our akhperner & kouirigner, makes our souls smile with joy. It’s definitely a life changing experience, and every Armenian in the world should experience it.”