While most of the world celebrates International Women's Day on March 8th, did you know that Armenia dedicates an entire month to women? According to this tradition, celebrations conclude on April 7th, a national holiday in Armenia known as “Motherhood and Beauty Day”. At Birthright Armenia and Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC), we don’t need a reason to highlight and celebrate the women who work for the benefit of Armenia. We’d like to highlight five inspiring alumni.
Women empowerment is one of the most popular topics our participants want to focus on. Among our partners is the Impact Innovations Institute, an organization that developed the Safe YOU application for women around the world. The application creates a virtual space where women can enhance their street safety and are able to seek help in a secure, supportive environment. Natalie Marcarian (23, Australia), a psychologist with a focus on women's and gender studies, Taylor Ermoian (28, USA), a social worker, and Victoria Yegavian (26, France)specializing in economics and business are Birthright participants who all contributed to the success of Safe YOU by partaking in their PR efforts, feature development, consulting and more. The team continues their work and is always ready to host Birthright Armenia and AVC participants interested in joining their projects.
What about those who stayed in Armenia after their volunteering experience and joined efforts to launch their own project? Alumna Jessica Esayan (28, Argentina), and Amy Clare Todman (40, Scotland), an AVC alumna, came together with Pauline Ohanian (35, Lebanon), a repat alum already living in Armenia. The threesome is passionate about arts and wanted to offer an opportunity to people of all ages to develop their art skills in their cozy studio not far from Yerevan. These inspiring women established the art workshop studio Proshyan Arts Project in Proshyan, a short 20-minute drive from Yerevan, and has already attracted the attention of many.
Last but not least, storytelling! Nora Kayserian (37, USA), a 2011 Birthright Armenia alumna, came up with an amazing initiative to tell the world about Zabel Yesayan, an Armenian novelist, professor and activist, through a picture book biography. Invincible Zabel («Անպարտելի Զապէլ») is an inspirational story in Western Armenian about a girl who loved books and made history by pursuing her childhood dreams. "My project aims to connect hundreds of school-aged children with a female hero who shares a similar ethnic background. The hero’s ethnicity and gender are connected to larger personal and social themes like facing challenges, overcoming obstacles, and making a difference in your community," reflects Nora on her project.
We are proud of all projects initiated, supported, and handled by our powerful women. They have triggered changes, big and small, in Armenia. Let these stories inspire you to visit Armenia with a purpose. Don’t delay further, come and implement your own project in Armenia. If you are Diasporan aged 21 - 32, apply now to Birthright Armenia. If you are 33+ or are not ethnically Armenian, then join AVC.