AGBU YEREVAN SUMMER INTERN PROGRAM PARTICIPANT CARRIES OUT A HUMANITARIAN PROGRAM OF HER OWN

Nanor Balabanian, from USA, was among the 25 participants of the AGBU Yerevan Summer Intern Program in 2009. She spent five weeks in Armenia, worked at the UNDP Yerevan office, visited Artsakh and got a better understanding of Armenian reality. “I learned the importance of self-confidence, patience, forgiveness, kindness, perseverance, friendship, respect and pride in Armenian Identity”, she had written in her evaluation.

The program finished and Nanor returned to US with bright memories and impressions of her trip. She went back with a distinct intention to return and help her people in the homeland and have her contribution in the development of Armenia’s rural communities. Currently, Nanor is a political science student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA. At her own initiative and with a goal to help Armenia, Nanor started implementing the “Hidden Road” initiative. As part of the program, a group of students from the universities of Stanford, California and Yerevan State, spent 2 weeks in Akhpradzor setting up an internet connected computer room in the village’s only school and teaching the local youth how to use the computer resources for their own educational and professional growth. A 2-week curriculum was formed to help the villagers understand and use the information and potential provided by Google, KTAK and Armenian Telemedicine.

Akhpradzor is situated in the Gegharkunik region of Armenia, not far from the Armenian-Azeraijani border.

Severe winters isolate the village for seven months of the year, October through April, because of the impassability of roads. The village does not have a market. It does not even have a doctor for any emergencies. With the financial assistance of organizations such as the Strauss Foundation, Google, Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), and the President of University of California – Santa Barbara, Nanor was able to carry out a rural development project of her own design and initiative in Armenia, as proof that one person’s willingness and tenacity can make a difficult at first sight program possible. For her senior honors thesis, she will study the effects of this project on the younger generation of students living in Akhpradzor. Bravo, Nanor!

 
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