For the third consecutive year French Simon Londre, has participated in the UGAB Jeunes’ (AGBU Youth of France) Arménie, Terre de Vie (Armenia, Land of Life) project. He spent his third summer in Armenia, helping to carry out a number of voluntary projects. This time he participated in the program as a veteran and was entrusted to lead this year’s Arménie, Terre de Vie team. We met Simon in the AGBU Yerevan office. In answer to our “bonjour”, we heard his “բարև” in wonderfully pronounced Armenian. He was a little tired, but very happy. He came to the office directly from the construction site. Simon’s third visit to Armenia was a turning point for him. Being a son of catholic Jewish parents, Simon decided to be baptized in the Armenian church.

“I found a spiritual aura here, in Armenia, which I think every faith should have. I have never noticed such a thing in France. Church is not just a place for prayer for Armenians”, said Simon. The holy christening had taken place the day before at the Geghard Monastery. Simon was christened and received his new holy name: Azat, and in his own words he felt much freer. Before leaving AGBU he said “goodbye” to everyone in Armenian.

Arménie, Terre de Vie by AGBU Youth, France takes place once every two years. The first two programs took place in 2011 and 2013 respectively, during which, the program participants volunteered their time and service in construction, education, environmental and health programs around Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh (NKR), including the renovation of a two-storey Berdzor Youth Center in Artsakh, the partial renovation of AGBU and Mother See’s Malatya Children’s Center, solving part of the water supply and heating system issues, etc.

40 young people from Paris and the neighboring districts spent several weeks at the Malatya Children’s Center and renovated the cloakroom, sports hall and the painting room at a total cost 10.000 EUR t as part of their returning mission in 2015.

“I have a friend, with whom we play American football. He told me about this program. When he said that he was going to come to Armenia to participate in a humanitarian project, I decided to join him. I am very impressed with the Armenian people who survived the Genocide. It’s a historical fact that we all know. And, although, we came here to help people, we benefit from this project as well. I can’t find words to describe it. I learn a lot of things in Armenia. I am very happy that this program is also open to non-Armenians. I would like to thank several companies and individuals, especially the Armenian General Benevolent Union, Hermine Duzian, Simon, Tigris, Dannie and one of the founders of this project, Raffi; all of them do a great job to realize the project. I am sure I’ll return to Armenia someday, although probably not as part of this project, as my age doesn’t allow for it.”, said Endie.






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