Yerevan, Armenia — For many years, Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC) has been welcoming diverse volunteers from around the world to serve in Armenia. In 2014, AVC volunteers came to Armenia from 19 different countries -- more countries than ever before! And five of the countries represented -- Czech Republic, Egypt, India, Italy, and Mexico – were firsts for us! So what inspired these pioneers to discover Armenia through volunteer service?
 

MarketaPavkova 2015

Marketa Pavkova, 31, from Prague, holds degrees in History and Social Sciences as well as History of Art and is currently working towards a PhD in Philosophy. She discovered an interest in Armenia during her study/research-semesters in France where she met members of the French-Armenian community. Her dormitory was run by the Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception; their library contained many books on Armenian history, culture and architecture, feeding her passion for art history, and so the foundation was laid for her future sojourn in Armenia. In Prague, she continued her work as archivist at Czech Public TV and as guide for the National Trust, but as soon as the opportunity arose, she searched for volunteering opportunities in Armenia, found AVC and soon arrived for 11 weeks of service and immersion. 

Given her experience working with museums and in the tourism sector, as well as her interest in historic preservation, AVC placed Marketa at Erebuni Museum and Archeological Reserve and at Research on Armenia Architecture (RAA). At Erebuni Museum, working together with another volunteer from France, Marketa developed a proposal for the creation of a tourist card system that would encourage tourists to visit multiple venues by offering discounts and including transportation. At RAA, Marketa translated a series of documentary films into Czech and then recorded the voiceovers herself. She enjoyed her two very different placements and the useful and fulfilling work she was able to complete. She says the highlight of her stay in Armenia was her weekend trips outside of Yerevan, some of which she undertook on her own. Back in Prague now, Marketa is working on promoting increased tourism to Armenia along with creating a Czech language informational website about Armenia. 

 BikramjitChaudhuri 2015

Bikramjit Chaudhuri, 36, was born in India.  He completed his undergraduate and graduate education in Germany and then moved on to work in Switzerland.  He has lived in Europe for over 16 years now and has traveled broadly for his work.  A casual trip to Armenia last year to visit a friend sparked an interest to learn more.  With the timing right in his career for a sabbatical, Bikram took an extended leave, found AVC and began volunteering at Instigate.  His depth of experience and practical no-nonsense approach have come in handy as he developed the user manual for one of Instigate’s robotics models.  

He also mentored young inventor-students at the Armenian National Engineering Laboratories (ANEL) as they prepared to present their projects at the DigiTec Information and Telecommunication Technologies Expo.  In his spare time, Bikram helped a friend build a greenhouse and has been closely following the experimental hydroponics project.  Bikram sees a lot of opportunity and potential in Armenia in many spheres and is exploring launching his own startup to help support and accelerate what he sees as an urgent need – professional repatriation.

 Essa 2015

Mostafa Essa, 25, was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. He is a graduate of the German University in Cairo with a degree in Communications Engineering and Information Technologies.  While he considers himself an activist, having been involved in many student civic initiatives, he is a ‘conscientious objector’, opposed to violence and war.  He says he is most inspired by enabling change through education.  He is also driven by his work to have Egypt recognize the Armenia Genocide.  It is this work as well the Armenians he met at university and through his participation in AIESEC that piqued his interest in visiting Armenia.  An acquaintance from PINK Armenia suggested Essa contact AVC.  With a wealth of volunteer experience in human rights, Essa began his volunteer service at PINK, helping with research and the development of a database. 

Although Essa started learning Armenian through our free language classes, it is his knowledge of English and German that were called on at two other placements, both cultural institutions, Kultur Dialog Armenien and the Armenian Center For Contemporary Experimental Art (ACCEA – NPAK), which Essa assisted during special projects and exhibit openings.  Essa has recently joined our growing number of in-country alumni who have found jobs here post-volunteerism.  Essa plans to be in Armenia longer term and is looking forward to experiencing the centennial commemorations of the Armenia Genocide first-hand. 

IanBugarin 2015 

Ian Davide Bugarin (21) is a member of Eutopia NGO in his native Italy, which provides positive group activities and emotional support for young children; he has coordinated summer camp projects for Eutopia and led art workshops. He first came to Armenia in March 2014 to participate in a Youth In Action/ERASMUS+ conference about volunteerism where he was introduced to AVC and got the idea of returning to Armenia to do a summer internship.  And return he did.  An architecture student and artist-at-heart, Ian was able to experience a variety of placements, his principal focus being at ARCHCoop, where he garnered professional experience that should serve him well in his future studies.  Not one to be idle, Ian also helped with translations of informational texts into Italian at the Erebuni Museum; and assisted with the design of a new campaign for DEEM Communications.  

When he wasn’t working, Ian participated in community service activities and weekend excursions around the country with other AVC and Birthright Armenia volunteers, making the most of his one month in Armenia.

AlejandroSantos 2015

Hector Alejandro Santos Ortega, (22), is from Mexico.  A recent university graduate in International Affairs, Alejandro first heard about Armenia his last year of high school as he was working on a class assignment about genocides around the world.  As soon as he discovered that his birthday, April 24, is the day Armenians commemorate the start of the genocide, he determined to learn more.  He began researching the region, the former Soviet states, eventually narrowing his focus on Armenia. He read as much as he could and became captivated by Armenia’s history, particularly the ‘fedayis’ and the Artsakh freedom fighters.  Years passed, university and judo filled his schedule.  He completed various internships, including at Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he visited Germany and New York, spent some time in Panama and Argentina, where his father was working.  

Then as graduation approached, he decided that his final internship should be somewhere different, off the beaten path and he remembered his high school research.  A firm believer that just reading about a place is never enough for real understanding, he set his sights on Armenia.  A search for ‘volunteering in Armenia’ brought him to AVC. Alejandro spent 10 weeks in Armenia from August through November.  His placements included Macsedan School and Argentinian Armenian School where he taught the elementary school-age children Spanish; he also put his Judo experience to good use mentoring youngsters at the local Judo studio, and helping SheFighter with demonstrations and role-play situational training.   Like many of the AVC volunteers, Alejandro stayed with a host-family, studied Armenian, and went on weekly excursions including the 4-day trip to Artsakh organized by AVC sister-organization Birthright Armenia.  For Alejandro, there is no doubt that, along with the people he met and friends he made here, the Artsakh trip was the highlight of his stay in Armenia.  No sooner did he return to Mexico, than he started thinking about when he will be able to come back to Armenia.  In the meantime, he explores ways to share his experience with others in the hopes of inspiring others to follow his footsteps.

Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC) is Armenia’s leading volunteer organization based in Armenia, customizing job placements for some 600 global volunteers aged 21 and up and working to create a connection between people around the world and Armenia. AVC volunteers have hailed from the four corners of the world - 38 countries to date - with the oldest so far a dynamic 72 years old! In addition to placements, AVC provides all logistical support from airport pick-up, to host-family living arrangements, Armenian language classes and more, in partnership with its sister organization Birthright Armenia.

 

  

Garni hiking

 

horseridingFPWC

 

gladzor

 

Jermuk waterfall

This summer, be more than just a tourist!

Join AVC's Southern Discovery 2015 tour from June 19 to 30 and explore some of the ancient and natural gems of Armenia's southern regions while simultaneously contributing to the country's overall growth and development.

AVC's Voluntourism profram is for the more adventurous traveler looking for a great alternative to yet another beach vacation. There are so many still untouched areas in Armenia that offer great ecotourism within walking distance to historic sites, in rural areas with unique opportunities to do rewarding volunteer work. Our 12-day package is the perfect combination of unique tourism activities and rewarding volunteer community service projects.

From the minute you land, AVC will transport you on an all-inclusive adventure into the heart of Armenia.
•    In Yerevan, stay in the heart of the city at the beautiful Villa Delenda; visit the Parajanov museum, Erebuni fortress and museum, Tsitsernakaberd, Garni and Geghart, and Lake Sevan
•    Explore cultural and natural sites in Ararat, Vayots Dzor and Syunik, including Khor Virab, Urtsadzor, Areni, Yeghegnadzor, Tatev, Khndzoresk, Jermuk
•    Work side-by-side with local farmers in Masis, and help the villagers bundle their wholesome bounty to market.
•    Enjoy off-roading, hiking, horseback-riding and picnics; ride the world's largest aerial tram; learn how to make lavash and collect honey; see where the world's oldest leather shoe and winepress were discovered!
•    Experience rural life through village homestays and work with local residents in their community center in Gomk
•    Includes all ground transportation, accommodations and meals, guided excursions, and cultural and other activities.
 
SPACE IS LIMITED. REGISTER TODAY!
Cost: $1,250

Discover the hidden Armenia with AVC! 

   

 

 

 

AVC VolunteerCorps

Essa CBA Dilijan

 

 

 

Mostafa Essa, 25, was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. He is a graduate of the German University in Cairo with a degree in Communications Engineering and Information Technologies. While he considers himself an activist, having been involved in many student civic initiatives, he is a ‘conscientious objector’, opposed to violence and war. He says he is most inspired by enabling change through education. He is also driven by his work to have Egypt recognize the Armenia Genocide. It is this work as well the Armenians he met at university and through his participation in AIESEC that piqued his interest in visiting Armenia. An acquaintance from PINK Armenia suggested Essa contact AVC.

With a wealth of volunteer experience in human rights, Essa began his volunteer service at PINK, helping with research and the development of a database. Although Essa started learning Armenian through our free language classes, it is his knowledge of English and German that were called on at two other placements, both cultural institutions, Kultur Dialog Armenien and the Armenian Center For Contemporary Experimental Art (ACCEA – NPAK), which Essa assisted during special projects and exhibit openings. Essa has recently joined our growing number of in-country alumni who have found jobs here post-volunteerism. Essa plans to be in Armenia longer term and is looking forward to experiencing the centennial commemorations of the Armenia Genocide first-hand. 

 

HectorAlejandroOrtegaSantos 02
HectorAlejandroOrtegaSantos 04

HectorAlejandroOrtegaSantos 06

HectorAlejandroOrtegaSantos 05

 

 

 

Hector Alejandro Santos Ortega, (22), is from Mexico City, Mexico. A recent university graduate in International Affairs, Alejandro first heard about Armenia his last year of high school as he was working on a class assignment about genocides around the world. As soon as he discovered that his birthday, April 24, is the day Armenians commemorate the start of the genocide, he determined to learn more. He began researching the region, the former Soviet states, eventually narrowing his focus on Armenia. He read as much as he could and became captivated by Armenia’s history, particularly the ‘fedayis’ and the Artsakh freedom fighters.

Years passed, university and judo filled his schedule. He completed various internships, including at Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he visited Germany and New York, spent some time in Panama and Argentina, where his father was working. Then as graduation approached, he decided that his final internship should be somewhere different, off the beaten path and he remembered his high school research. A firm believer that just reading about a place is never enough for real understanding, he set his sights on Armenia. A search for ‘volunteering in Armenia’ brought him to AVC.

Alejandro spent 10 weeks in Armenia from August through November. His placements included Macsedan School and Argentinian Armenian School where he taught the elementary school-age children Spanish; he also put his Judo experience to good use mentoring youngsters at the local Judo studio, and helping SheFighter with demonstrations and role-play situational training.

Like many of the AVC volunteers, Alejandro stayed with a host-family, studied Armenian, and went on weekly excursions including the 4-day trip to Artsakh organized by AVC sister-organization Birthright Armenia. For Alejandro, there is no doubt that, along with the people he met and friends he made here, the Artsakh trip was the highlight of his stay in Armenia.

No sooner did he return to Mexico, than he started thinking about when he will be able to come back to Armenia. In the meantime, he explores ways to share his experience with others in the hopes of inspiring them to follow his footsteps.

 

AVC ProfessionalCorps

BikramjitChaudhuri

 

 

 

Bikramjit Chaudhuri, 36, was born in India.  He completed his undergraduate and graduate education in Germany and then moved on to work in Switzerland.  He has lived in Europe for over 16 years now and has traveled broadly for his work.  A casual trip to Armenia last year to visit a friend sparked an interest to learn more.  

With the timing right in his career for a sabbatical, Bikram took an extended leave, found AVC and began volunteering at Instigate.  His depth of experience and practical no-nonsense approach have come in handy as he developed the user manual for one of Instigate’s robotics models.  He also mentored young inventor-students at the Armenian National Engineering Laboratories (ANEL) as they prepared to present their projects at the DigiTec Information and Telecommunication Technologies Expo.  

In his spare time, Bikram helped a friend build a greenhouse and has been closely following the experimental hydroponics project.  Bikram sees a lot of opportunity and potential in Armenia in many spheres and is exploring launching his own startup to help support and accelerate what he sees as an urgent need – professional repatriation.

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