“I love my sweet Armenia’s word which is filled with the taste of sun,
I love our old lyre’s melody from its mournful and weeping strings,
The vivacious fragrance of the blood-like flowers and the roses,
I love as well the graceful and agile dance of Nayirian girls …
I love as well our gloomy sky, our pure waters, luminous lake,
The summer’s sun and the winter’s sublime wind with a dragon’s voice,
Also the black, unwelcoming walls of the huts lost in the dark,
And I love the thousand-year stone of the ancient cities as well …
Pass the whole world, there’s no summit as white as that of Ararat,
Like glory road, unreachable, I love as well my Mount Massis.”
If you have ever read those lines from the well-known Armenian poet Charents, you can hardly resist the desire to see and live in a country like Armenia. Experience the beauty and culture of the country on this Global Village Women Build trip.
About Global Village Women Build trips
Global Village Women Build trips are organized with the same requirements set by the Global Village program, but they are enhanced with features typical of a Women Build.
Women Build is Habitat’s volunteer program for women who want to make a difference by building homes and communities. The mission of the Women Build program is to enable affiliates to recruit, educate and nurture women to build and advocate simple, decent and affordable houses in their communities and around the world.
Women Build is not about excluding men. It is about including women and opening new doors of opportunity for women everywhere. Men are often involved in Women Build training programs and build projects and are absolutely welcome to join this Global Village trip.
For more information on Women Build, visit http://www.habitat.org/wb/default.aspx.
Armenia occupies 29,700,000 square meters and is situated in the northeast Armenian highlands. The Republic of Armenia borders Georgia and Azerbaijan in the north and east and Turkey and Iran in the west and south. The population is 3.2 million.
Yerevan is the largest city and capital of Armenia. Nestled on the Ararat Plain along the Hrazdan River, Yerevan is a leading industrial, cultural and scientific center in the Caucasus region.
Substandard housing is all too common in Yerevan and surrounding regions. Three events have shaped the current housing situation: economic and social transition, including housing privatization; a massive earthquake in 1988; and a large influx of refugees. Because of these factors, more than 50 percent of Armenia’s families live in deteriorated housing with cramped quarters and limited water and heat. Almost every building in the country is considered to be below current safety requirements for earthquakes.
When families are forced to abandon the dream of completing their home due to financial hardship, they often live in the unfinished basement or cellar. Others live in domiks, metal containers that were brought to Armenia as part of the relief effort following the devastating 1988 earthquake. Many families have been living in these containers for more than a decade. Domiks are unbearably hot in the summer, and only makeshift stoves combat the extreme cold in winter.
Ninety-six percent of housing in Armenia is privately owned. The four percent of housing that remains in public rental is not targeted to low-income households. The work Habitat is doing in the country is essential to ensuring simple, decent and affordable housing for hundreds of Armenians.
About Habitat for Humanity Armenia
Habitat for Humanity Armenia is the new name for Habitat’s presence in Armenia. After nearly eight years of work in Armenia, Habitat for Humanity re-launched its country organization in June 2008 to serve more low-income families at an exponentially faster rate.
Habitat for Humanity Armenia tackles poverty housing through a variety of efforts, including the construction of affordable, efficient houses; the completion of half-built homes; implementation of water and sanitation facilities; advocacy of improved housing policies for low-income families and engagement of volunteers and other like-minded partners.
As of 2008, Habitat for Humanity Armenia helped nearly 400 families. Learn more at Habitat for Humanity Armenia.
Types of construction for volunteers
Volunteers can help in the completion of half-built homes and renovations, including roof-replacement projects.
Day 1, Typically Saturday: Depart for Armenia.
Day 2, Sunday: Travel day.
Day 3, Monday: Arrive in Yerevan in early morning; rest for a few hours; welcome and orientation with Habitat Armenia staff member; dinner.
Days 4–5, Tuesday–Wednesday (work days): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; Work from 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. with lunch on site; free time after work to clean up; dinner in local restaurants; time for team activities.
Day 6, Thursday: Free day for cultural activities; dinner in local restaurants; time for team activities.
Days 7–8, Friday–Saturday (work days): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. with lunch on site; free time after work to clean up; dinner in local restaurants; time for team activities.
Day 9, Sunday (free day): Activity in local community.
Days 10, Monday (work days): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; Work from 8a.m.–4:30p.m.with lunch on site; free time after work to clean up.
Day 11, Tuesday: Depart for home.
Note: Special events throughout the week include cultural experiences with host program staff, such as market tours, museum visits, church, walking tours, etc.
Also, throughout the trip, we will have the opportunity to take part in evening activities with other international volunteers, go on community tours and participate in discussions with local women’s organizations and interact with their members.
Hotels are simple and basic and typically located in the city center. The team will stay in double-occupancy rooms and include a private bathroom. All facilities are screened by HFH staff to ensure they are safe, clean and well-maintained.
Trip cost includes: donation to the Habitat host program and HFHI; meals; accommodations; transport (excluding trip participant air fare); medical emergency evacuation and trip cancellation insurance; some local cultural activities and team coordination and orientation materials. The team leader’s trip cost and estimated air fare may be included in the trip budget. The trip cost does not include trip participant air fare, R&R activities or visa and exit fees (not applicable for all destinations).
Although Nana Ghazaryan Moore currently resides with her husband in the United States, she is originally from Armenia. She has been involved with Habitat for eight years and has led GV trips to Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Hawaii and most recently, Ethiopia. Though she has a passion for learning about new cultures and traveling to new places, she is very excited for the opportunity to co-lead this GV trip with her friend to her own home country—to contribute her personal knowledge of its culture, country and language to team members—and for the first time, to serve in a mission field in the country of her origin.
Allyson Drinnon works in the Volunteer Mobilization department at Habitat for Humanity International. She has been at Habitat for more than eight years, previously serving in the AmeriCorps department. She has led GV trips within the United States to the Gulf Coast region for Hurricane Katrina relief, as well as to various locales in Central and South America. Although she has traveled to Europe as a tourist, this will be her first GV trip to Europe and Central Asia. She is very excited to be leading this team with her friend and colleague Nana.
For more information about this GV trip to Armenia, contact Nana and Allyson via e-mail at Armeniagv2010@yahoo.com.