Armenia is a small country with a very homogenous population of around 3 million, nearly 99% of which are Armenian, that lies between Turkey and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus region. Situated between Asia and Europe, Armenia is a blend of the two continents and is known to be the first country to accept Christianity, and is home to many biblical landmarks, such as Mount Ararat and is the world’s oldest church. Voluntary work in Armenia is needed as a result of the nation’s tumultuous past, although Armenian has a rich history and culture that should not be overlooked.
fast Facts about Armenia
Most famous for ?
Being the first Christian nation
interesting fact ?
Chess is a compulsory school subject!
Gyumri is the second largest city in Armenia, located in the northwestern area of Armenia and surrounded by the Pambak mountains. With a history dating back 5,000 years and home to many prominent Armenian museums, the city is rich in culture and for centuries was labelled as the ‘city of crafts and arts’ being famous for its schools and theatres. Visitors of Gyumri will also experience the incredible mountainous views the city offers, due to its location North of the Aragats. The city is a prominent location for voluntary work in Armenia following an earthquake in 1988, as despite the city recovering, homelessness and poverty remain abundant.
Yerevan is Armenia’s capital city, and is one of the world’s oldest cities, with a history dating back to the 8th century BC, making this destination both a historical and cultural goldmine. The large metropolitan city is home to important landmarks such as the Mother Armenia statue and the Erebuni Fortress is considered to be the birthplace of the city. Located at the bottom of Mount Ararat, voluntary work in Armenia is popular in this city due to the work that needs to be done to continue to develop this historic city.
Volunteering in Armenia
Voluntary work in Armenia encompasses a variety of roles and opportunities, primarily working with people but also including roles such as archeology and manual work, such as building houses; due to the economic downfall in the 1990s many families were unable to finish reconstruction of their homes following the earthquake in the late 80s leaving around 65,000 families in need of housing improvements. Volunteering in Armenia on home building projects means you have the opportunity to improve the lives of locals, as many families live in shipping containers as a result of the immense economic and social problems, so you have the chance to make a positive impact by building new homes or finishing the reconstruction of damaged buildings.
Teaching is a great opportunity for those seeking voluntary work in Armenia; Russian and Armenian are the most common languages spoken in the country, but English is a particularly sought after language skills, with French, Spanish and German also being of interest to the locals. There are teaching opportunities in schools all over Armenia, and volunteers will get the chance to interact with the children through games, after school lessons and tutoring.
Voluntary work in Armenia also presents the unique volunteering opportunity to take part in archaeological projects in amazing historical locations including the Garni Pagan Temple and World Heritage Sites such as Zvartnots Cathedral, that dates back centuries.
Voluntary work in Armenia tends to last around 2 to 4 weeks and most organisations require a commitment of around four weeks, but volunteer programs can even last up to a year sometimes. Knowledge of the Armenian language isn’t required to volunteer here, but it will be beneficial to learn a few phrases to help you get by, and you will be sure to pick up a bit of the language whilst you’re there!