Post by Sarah Tourville, international resource development officer for Heifer International
I was fortunate last week to take part in Heifer Armenia’s strategic planning workshop. The team has developed an ambitious, forward-thinking plan for the next five years to help more families in Armenia move from poverty to self-reliance. A hallmark of Heifer’s work in Armenia is its YES! youth clubs, one of which I had a chance to visit while I was there.
It was raining as we drove from the capital city, Yerevan, to a small community near Lake Sevan, about 45 minutes north. As we entered the school, the excited shouts of students echoed down the concrete hallways of the Soviet-era building. They had been waiting for us for almost two hours, but neither the weather nor the long wait had done anything to dampen their enthusiasm.
YES! youth club members have the opportunity to participate in several “directions,” including agriculture, environment health and civic education. The students of the agriculture and environment directions entertained us with skits and songs about healthy cows, while the civic education direction had a lively debate about gender equity in Armenia. Afterwards we had a chance to see the intricately designed, hand-written books highlighting the group’s activities. You could see the pride in the student’s eyes as they described all they have accomplished over the past years with Heifer’s involvement.
Artur Melkonyan, one of the active members of the club, said it best: “I have grown up with Heifer in this school and I cannot imagine Heifer not being a part of my life. I will go on to do great things … because of my involvement in the club.”