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Hatsik Village: A Success Story

Cold seasons, coats saturated with diesel odor, and tangible changes brought about by COAF–these are just a few of the things that characterize Hatsik Village.

The Hatsik mayor Arthur Yeghiazaryan gets enthusiastic every time he talks about Children of Armenia Fund. “The “lion’s share” of our prosperity and success depend on COAF,” he says. “They invested a lot into our life through various infrastructure, as well as educational and health programs. We have a beautiful school rebuilt by COAF with brand-new restrooms and a gym… We are really grateful to COAF for what they did.”

Yeghiazaryan thinks that COAF has invested not only in the community development but also into the personal growth of Hatsik inhabitants. “Our village is an interesting one. The inhabitants don’t call themselves “Armavir” people, although technically we are in Armavir. Many of them are descendants of people that years ago have moved here from other parts of Armenia, as well as Javakhk (Georgia), Iran, Syria, and Lebanon. So, we are kind of multi-cultured, which adds a nice diversity to our community. That diversity has been multiplied by the COAF “intellectual investment” as well. As a result, we have lots of intelligent people living here, and they want to be useful for their community. Another characteristic feature of Hatsik is the abundance of fruitful orchards and gardens.”

The mayor is obviously proud of his community and is happy with the changes that COAF brought. Tatev Mkrtchyan, the principal of the local school gets into specific details, explaining what exactly COAF has done. “When they renovated our school in 2015, we felt we were starting a new life. Before, the cold seasons were our nightmare. Children feared the winter and just waited for the spring to come. Now, with our renovated infrastructure and beautiful, warm classrooms, there are no “cold and hot seasons” anymore. It has become pleasant just to walk around our school.”

75. Hatsik after COAF1

Mkrtchyan stops talking, suddenly spotting something dirty on the school corridor wall and starts cleaning it frantically. “It’s not only about me,” she says. “The kids have also become more responsible for the cleanliness and atmosphere of the school. COAF has taught them to be more caring. Also, they have improved their grades, too. Of course, the extracurricular activities launched by COAF (English Access, puppet-making, etc.) have greatly contributed to it but the environment plays its role, too. We now even have more students that have entered the university, earning the highest scores at entrance exams.”

Mkrtchyan also mentions the “COAF human factor”, “The people working at COAF are unique. They are very humane. I appreciate their compassion and sympathy for rural children even more than the renovated infrastructure. I consider knowing these people to be my most essential achievement.”

Gohar Karapetyan, a supervising teacher joins in, “Before COAF, we had to run our lessons in coats and raincoats. It was so cold in ramshackle classrooms that used diesel stoves to get warm. After a couple of winters, I had to throw away my coat because I couldn’t get rid of the diesel odor it got saturated with. The situation changed when COAF renovated our school. Before COAF, kids had to use the outdoor restroom even in the winter cold. Now they have newly-constructed bathrooms inside the building. They have a canteen where they can enjoy hot meals every day. They have a Brushodrome where they brush their teeth… These changes are really tangible.”

75. Hatsik after COAF2

Gayane Asatryan runs the COAF-launched puppet-making club. “The kids at our school are enthusiastic about puppet-making and playing on the stage. 60 kids wanted to join the club but we could enroll only 20 of them. Now we are making puppets for Little Red Riding Hood and getting ready for a performance. The club has changed children’s life – they have become more open-minded and outgoing.”

75. Hatsik after COAF3

The Hatsik outpatient clinic is located nearby the school. Many employees have been involved in COAF medical programs. Nurse Marietta Militonyan really appreciated that COAF doctors have taught her techniques related to breast cancer screenings. “That was very useful. I am glad that COAF emphasizes training for the local medical staff in villages. They share their experience and knowledge so that we can better serve our people.” Marietta’s sister, Manushak, works as an accountant at the same clinic. “Before COAF, our kids didn’t really know how to spend their spare time. COAF has brought meaning to their everyday life.” Teenagers Larisa and Ovsanna whole-heartedly agree with her. “Now we have several after-school activities we can choose from,” Larisa says. “Also, we have become more sociable.”

“We have chances to communicate with kids from other villages,” Ovsanna says. “Thanks to COAF summer camps, we have become friends with students from Aragatsavan.”

“Before COAF, we didn’t know anything about volunteering,” Larisa says. “It was a totally new idea to us. COAF has helped us organize garbage collection and install garbage bins.”

“But most importantly, we have realized that we can achieve anything if we work hard and be organized,” Ovsanna says. “And if COAF stands by us.”

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