Narineh Gharashor

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Narineh has volunteered in Armenia with the Armenian Volunteer Corps. She then went on to be director of AVC for 2? years.

As an AVC volunteer

Narineh Gharashor Azizyan arrived From LA (USA) in July. She is fluent in Armenian because her mother is a Teacher of Armenian language in Los Angeles.

"It was always my dream to come to Armenia" she says. "I am originally from Iran. I remember when I was seven I traveled closer to the Armenian border and always dreamed that some day I will go to Armenia".

Narineh works with the socially disadvantaged children at "Orran" Center, where children from six to 16 come after school to spend four hours daily studying, dining and for social activities like sports and theater.

She also works with For Better Family and Health, a women's center that provides free healthcare services to women from vulnerable groups.

The center also organizes seminars on sexual education for high school students, something unique in Armenia. It is one of the few resources that provides information on sexual life, protection and other information not available in the broader public information sources.

She also volunteers at a Fund for Armenian Relief center that hosts street children brought there by police while their further destiny is decided. The kids stay typically from two weeks to two months.

"These are the kids who are in the streets, who run away from their families. The majority of them have families," Narineh says. "It is a difficult work. You get personally involved in their lives, and feel responsibility for them. It is hard to keep neutral and not get emotionally involved.

"For me it is difficult to hear people, children begging in Armenian, I want to shut my ears not to listen to that. I kind of learn the hardships of reality I have to deal with."

Volunteers must be ready to experience the full life of Armenia, and not just what they might see on holiday.

Some, like Narineh, like what they find.

"I am looking for opportunities, employment to stay in Armenia for a longer period," she says.

For information about AVC, visit its website at www.armenianvolunteer.org.

This section is from ArmeniaNow.com