Crystalizing Student-Led Community Impact in Armenia

Ruiz Clark, Interim CEO, Teach For Armenia

The following is an excerpt of a post originally published on LinkedIn by Teach For Armenia:

The potential of people is like carbon. It is often overlooked and disregarded by many as wasted breath. Carbon is all around us, as common as the air that we expel from our lungs. However, with the right conditions, carbon can transform into diamonds. 

This summer, Teach For Armenia witnessed the creation of diamonds. 

Diamonds, like the students of Sarigyugh, who recently pitched an idea to upgrade their community’s water sanitation system. For a similar project in a neighboring province, another group of students visited the local mayor, demanding statistics on the town’s water quality. They would not relent until they had the data they wanted, explaining that they needed the information as a part of Teach For Armenia’s Virtual Student Leadership Camp.

The students of Bagaran also sparkled like gemstones, pitching an idea that garnered sponsorship from Ucom. The students will be creating a museum to showcase the beauty of their village. Meanwhile, the students of Lernahovit will be curating plaques throughout the town to commemorate the community’s history. Ani, a student who is a part of the initiative, expressed: “I realize now how much I love my village… the camp taught me how to re-evaluate my surroundings and appreciate what I have. We have studied, researched, and thought a lot about the village’s infinite potential, and how we can channel it to create progress.”

Even in the villages that were affected by the recent conflict in Tavush, students managed to stay engaged despite having to log-in from bunkers. One group of students from Choratan will be developing “Boundless,” a trilingual blog that aims to break negative stereotypes about life in border communities. Their idea captured the interest of Armenian Public TV, which recently interviewed two of the students as well as Ani Khachatryan, their teacher. As Ani explained during the interview: “We believe that communities are not areas full of problems. Rather, they are the opposite, full of infinite possibilities. We tried to educate our students to be true leaders, with the potential to discover those endless possibilities.” 

In all, 300 students participated in Teach For Armenia’s Virtual Student Leadership Camp, where they created video pitches for Community Impact Projects. Watch the videos produced by the 24 semi-finalists, the majority of which will be sponsored through Teach For All’s global partnership with the Deutsche Post DHL Group’s GoTeach program, and read Ruiz Clark’s full post on LinkedIn