Syuzi distributing emergency packages to the elderly

Hi, my name is Syuzi. I am from Rind settlement of Areni enlarged municipality. I am an

average student specializing in tourism, which is one of the fastest growing sectors in my community. I am also a participant in the UNDP’s “I AM the community’’ 7th Camp on youth leadership. The goal of the camp is to increase 16-30 years old youth participation in political, economic, social and cultural life of their communities.

The COVID-19, which recently threatened our planet and was initially small but now has a huge negative impact, hit Armenia and my community as well. The unexpected hit was even heavier.

Recently, I got a chance to volunteer in distribution of emergency packages, including food and personal protective equipment, for lonely elderly residing in our community. This volunteering experience wasn’t like my previous ones because I had mixed feelings. Honestly, I could not understand whether I am happy to be part of such an initiative and doing something good or I am sad because I could see and feel that the lonely elderly need care and warmth and are looking for a dear soul in us.

I remember how grandfather Artavazd told us warm words and offered to give one of the lushest red tulips that he had grown in his own garden. Grandmother Araksia’s warm words seemed dear even more flavored by the sweet scent of tonir (Armenian tandoor) lavash (flat bread), spreading all over the street. Grandmother Telman modestly stood in her clean and tidy yard, among the blossoming almond trees and marigolds, and was feeling uncomfortable with her dusty apron. Though it was very nice to be with them in the same place, but we should be cautious. We ensured all preventive measures and did our best to advise them on how to protect themselves and left shortly.

Honestly, volunteering forced me to think about many things. We have done our job with honor, and I am sure that every obstacle is easier to overcome when there is a helping hand, and we can help each other, because at some point in life we all need help, care and warmth, and now - more than ever.

In Areni enlarged municipality, 140 packages were distributed to elderly within the framework of UNDP “Women and Youth in Innovative Community Development Processes” project, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and implemented in partnership with the RA Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure.

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