Armenian Volunteer Corps

Welcome to the Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC) blog. Here our volunteers and alumni reflect on their experiences living and volunteering in Armenia. For more information about our programs, visit our website, follow us on Facebook or drop us an email: .

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Laura Tashjian

Name: Laura
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
Duration of Stay: One year

Background: professional work in public interest research and community organizing, international experience in sustainable development and women's advocacy work

Volunter work in Armenia: Teaching English, women's workshop, compiling journal and organizing events at the Kanayq Hayots Women's Resource Center in Yerevan.

Living and working in Ijevan (Tavush Region, Northern Armenia) with World Vision's Building Sustainably Livelihoods Program, which supports the community in business initiatives (such as piggeries, honey-making, stone workers, etc.)

Motivation: While standing through the Badarak procedures, it became painfully obvious that I am an outsider to my own culture. Incense, which smelled like my grandmother’s favorite dress, floated through the holy archway of the church and into my pew. I inhaled these memories slowly, hoping my lungs would accept a fraction more of air before I exhaled. I prayed my lungs would expand into the next pew until the remnants of my lost culture was allowed to circulate through my blood again.

The notes of a distant organ interrupted the rhythm of my breathing; my eyes opened and, instinctively, I understood that negotiating between my cultural “otherness” will always hinge on my understanding of the “homeland.” Long ago I launched my formal study of the Armenian language, culture, and history, but volunteering in Armenia has always been a missing link in my cultural puzzle.

Although discovering my “Armenianess” is a personal motivation, I believe strongly in the philosophy that work is only truly rewarding when it serves others and, with a background in the non-profit sector, I have dedicated my professional life to this end. Volunteering in Armenian is an ideal bridge not only to my personal questions of identity but also to my professional goals.


Post a Comment

<< Home