Get to know the Hrayr Maroukhian Foundation Interns…
Arpa Vartanian: In the summer of 2010, I came to Yerevan with the AYF Internship Program to volunteer at a children’s center. After witnessing firsthand the poverty these children face every day, I asked myself, “How can I make an even bigger impact on these children’s lives the next time I visit Armenia?” The easy answer is simply to go back to the center and volunteer again. But volunteer work can only go so far. In order to solve a problem, one must solve it from its roots. That is why I have returned to Armenia once again, this time to intern at the Hrayr Maroukhian Foundation. After looking over the foundation’s website and reading the headline, “Implementing Innovative & Enduring Solutions to Social, Economic, & Political Challenges,” I immediately realized that this internship would help me discover the root of the problems affecting the lives of the children I met two years ago. Working at the Hrayr Maroukhian Foundation has enlightened me about Armenia’s current issues and has allowed me to apply my knowledge towards building a brighter and better future for not only the children I met two years ago, but for my motherland as a whole.
Gevork Dramgotchian: In 2006 and 2010, I came to Armenia with the Homenetmen Scouts for the World Jamborees. Although I had the opportunity to meet new people and form lasting friendships, I never had the opportunity to experience living as a local does in Yerevan. This time around, the AYF Internship has given me a chance to live in Yerevan for six weeks, go to work every day, and see how a “deghatzi” would live. Walking to and from work every day has been an experience all in its own. To add to my experience, I have been given the amazing opportunity to work at the Hrayr Maroukhian Foundation. Being able to work with such great colleagues as I learn about the struggles of Armenia will have an everlasting impact on not only my future, but hopefully on Armenia’s as well.
Nazeli Khodabakhsh: This summer will be the third I spend in Armenia. While I have been very involved in the Armenian community in Glendale in the past, I decided that it is important for me to see what it’s like be in Armenia not just for a few weeks as a tourist, but for an extended period of time so I could see first-hand the good and the bad aspects of life in Armenia. So last summer I helped run a camp for kids in Gyumri and Shushi as part of AYF Youth Corps, and this summer I was fortunate enough to receive a fellowship from Occidental College, where I am a student, to spend a summer as an intern abroad. Of course, I chose Armenia, and the Hrayr Maroukhian Foundation as my destination! I decided that I would fully devote myself to learning about my country, participating in efforts to find solutions to the problems we as a developing nation face, and immersing myself in the rich culture and history seen everywhere in Armenia. My internship at HMF has helped me do all of this and much more. I see projects that the Foundation has been working on for years come to fruition, and am able to contribute to the beginnings of new and exciting projects that are all designed to help our country thrive and endure. The more time I spend here, the more I realize Armenia will always be part of my future.