Service Learning in Khachik Village: Local and Foreign Partners Work to Renovate a Community

Since 1993, the Armenian Diocese of Canada has surrounded itself with active Canadian Armenian youth who, with great pleasure and enthusiasm, have supported the development of their homeland’s communities. In one such demonstration of their support, the Canadian Armenian youth organized a charity fundraiser in Canada, afterwards arriving in Armenia to implement activities planned through this initiative.

The summer of 2016 was different than the other summers in Vayots Dzor’s Khachik village: A lively and festive atmosphere full of visitors and opportunities kept the village bustling. Seven youth from abroad implemented projects in Khachik Village with the support and cooperation of the Children Fund for Armenia of Canadian Diocese, the Canadian Youth Mission to Armenia represented by Father Vazgen Boyajyan, the German organization International Baurden, the Vayots Dzor Diocese, and Syunik-Development NGO. Representatives from the Armenian Dental Society in Glendale, California also came to provide their services to the border soldiers and community children free of charge.

In ten days, the wall of the village’s military unit was painted, the hall of the cultural house that had been in need of repairs since the collapse of the Soviet Union was renovated, the playground nearby the school was added onto, and a small pavilion was constructed in the center of the village by the project participants: Arad Khatchadourian, William Sumbulian and Gary Sevunts from Canada, Björge Köhler and Brigitte Wehmeyer from Germany, Aleksandra Karapetyan and Leona Karapetyan from the America.

The occasion was very inspiring both for the community and visitors. Instead of simply working, the volunteers were also able to participate in various cultural and sporting events, even joining the farmers of the village for agricultural activities such as harvesting crops or in honey production. Visits to historical sites and the sharing of daily life with villager became a cornerstone of the summer visit.

Emphasizing the importance of these projects that stimulate the contact, cooperation, and establishment of new friendship between Armenian Diaspora youth and youth living in Armenia, Syunik NGO hopes to continue to implement similar projects.