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: .

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Anne-Marie Manoukian
(Canada, 2012)

My last day at Meghvik Children Center was… emotional to say the least. Majoring in Political Science, I wasn’t very sure on how to teach English to young children. Little did I know, it required quite a significant amount of creativity and patience, two things I unfortunately lacked.  A fellow volunteer at the center and one of my dear friends, Miss Fiona Ann Peltegian Murdoch Greig wrote a puppet show entitled: “The Two Brave Bees.” It wasn’t until we started working on this infamous play that I started seeing the lights in the children’s eyes. I didn’t expect getting attached to my “Meghvikner” as much as I did, and it was definitely hard saying goodbye. However, I am certain that all these talented children will one day have the bright future they are destined to lead.
          On a completely different note, my second work placement, the Human Rights Defender Office in Gyumri, which had just opened its doors in April 2012, showed me the many realities of not only Gyumri, but Armenia as well. The staffs at both Armenian Volunteer Corps and Birthright Armenia prepare us early on for the cultural differences. They assure us that we definitely will be experiencing culture shock; therefore, we think we know exactly what to expect… until reality hits us in the face.
          These unexpected turn of events really do hit hard. There I was, week 7, exposed to only a fraction of Armenia’s challenges first-hand. Did I feel like giving up? Perhaps. Did I? I was working on a project that could one day change laws and improve the lives of countless Armenians, a project intended for the greater good of Armenia as a whole. I was not about to give up.
          This official document entitled “Human Rights in Armenia in the Eyes of the Diaspora” was sent to the Human Rights Defender Office in Yerevan on August 17, 2012, where the Ombudsman himself would review it. The road to the finish line may have been rocky, but I say with great pride and accomplishment that thanks to the help and collaboration of all the volunteers, Shogher and Allegra’s patience and understanding, and my partner in crime, Nat K., this project was successfully completed.
          It won’t always be easy; perhaps you’ll even feel like throwing in the towel. All it takes is for you to remember why you’re here. Why are you volunteering in Armenia? What led you here? And always remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel… it may even be brighter than you had originally expected.

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