Adopt a village and get involved!
In May of 2014, 42 beehives were distributed to the Lichk community located in the Syunik Region through the project known as “Towards Eco-Community”. This project was initiated by a young student from a New York university named Lia Soorenian and actualized with the assistance and guidance of Pan-Armenian Environmental Front (PAEF). Seven families received a total of 6 beehives each along with all the necessary equipment and items needed to become successful beekeepers. The villagers have already extracted the honey from these beehives and this concludes the first and most important phase of the project. With the assistance, guidance and direct supervision of a skilled bee specialist, for the first time some of the recipient families started practicing beekeeping and acquired the necessary knowledge and skills.
According to the conditions of the project, each family is required to donate 10% of their extracted honey to the Community Fund (newly created as part of this project). As a community, the villagers would decide how to allocate the funds. Although the year was very unfavorable, and much less than expected amount of honey was extracted, the recipients of the project unanimously voted to allocate 10 percent of their honey to the Community Fund. They also voted to allocate this year’s funds for purchasing sports equipment, such as balls, volleyball net, tennis equipment and other items for the school students.
Such programs not only assist villagers to return to working with their land but also ensure constant and sufficient revenue without harming the environment. Similar projects can also assist restore the culture of helping each other and making decisions together in our rural communities. Many people were willing to purchase the honey from the villagers and as a result it is already completely exhausted. This experience showed us that it is also possible to solve the issue associated with the consumption of agricultural products that the remote villages face.
We have attached the budget for the project (see here) so that all of our compatriots in Armenia and abroad are thoroughly informed about how much money is needed to help the villagers with projects involving bee-keeping. Using this project as an example and a model, we can develop and implement many other agricultural projects.
We’re calling all who are interested in helping the Armenian villagers to actualize a project by befriending the residents of the communities in order to decide what the needs of the villages are and creating programs to strengthen the communities. Unfortunately, there are multiple examples of Armenians living abroad who wished to help Armenian villagers and donated funds to different foundations but they didn’t directly participate in the actual project. When they do not see the desired results, they become discouraged and do not make any more attempts to continue helping the residents of Armenia. There is no need to blame anyone. Don’t allow anyone to exploit you. Come to Armenia and witness how the money you donate is being spent. Leave behind the “traditional” ways and donating funds to foundations that are controlled by the government . At the end of it, they provide little assistance to the country and the money you donate is used as a means for the oligarchs to stabilize their own positions and gain more power.
We remind you that the villages affected by mining should be given specific attention since they no longer have the opportunity to make a living through agricultural means. Since there is no governmental aid, villagers have no other choice than to work for the mines. In the diaspora there are young Armenians, such as Lia Soorenian, who are studying at different universities and realizing educational plans and projects. Nothing is getting in the way for them to choose a project in Armenia and to bring their share of efforts to Armenia. This can be one of the most effective and result-oriented ways of strengthening relationships between Diaspora Armenians and local Armenians.
We are always ready to assist with such projects and initiatives.
For questions, recommendations, and realizing new plans you can contact PAEF’s coordinators via email email@example.com: Levon Galastyan, Yegia Nersissian, Anna Aghlamazyan, Mariam Sukhudyan, Suzy Petrosyan or Lia Soorenian at firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch the video telling about the project: