A sweet 16 with COAF is more than just a number

12 June 2020

By Nane Vardanyan,
Photos by: Knar Babayan

3 min read

At 16, Artur-Ter-Simonyan first joined COAF volunteering as a postman. “I was eager to do any type of work just to keep myself busy and gain some experience,” he gets nostalgic. This year marks his 16th year with COAF, a precious archival memory that is hard to preserve in documents. A case when 16 is not just a number.

Meet Artur, our Infrastructure Projects Coordinator at COAF and a lifelong fan of Harry Potter. Artur spends most of his time traveling in our beneficiary regions and monitoring the old and new infrastructure projects that play a major role in our community development model. “COAF has contributed to 170+ infrastructure improvements in rural areas all of which have a tangible impact in our villages,” he explains.

Back in 2004, when starting to volunteer in COAF’s office back then located at Marriot Hotel on the Republic Square of Yerevan, he was still a Business Management student. Artur has worked in many COAF teams, under different leaderships, but nothing has changed his devotion to COAF.

“I love the working culture and the atmosphere that is pure and sincere here. It is devoid of bureaucratic nature and despite the workload one doesn’t feel heavy in heart. Another reason I feel a deep connection with COAF is Garo Armen, COAF’s Founder. I am humbled to have my input in the work initiated by him,” explains Artur.

Artur’s proudest moment at COAF has been the opening ceremony of the COAF SMART Center in the Lori region on May 27, 2018. “That day I was responsible for greeting our guests and helping them to park and get to the building. I was so proud to see their first reaction, their astonishment when reaching the Center.”

Now a proud father of two daughters, Shushan and Luseh, Artur spends most of his weekends outside Yerevan, finding fun and cozy retreats with his family. He explores rural Armenia not only through his job but also as a patriot who enjoys traveling and finding new places in his homeland.

Having volunteered in the villages of Austria, Germany, France, and England before, Artur uses his expertise to install successful projects of community development locally.

He feels the lack of community centers in Armenia that serve as a gathering place for our villagers, especially the youth who often have nowhere to watch movies, discuss books, and socialize with each other. Artur believes it doesn’t require much investment to provide community members with opportunities to have a better social life. “Just a building with a few entertainment resources and a big TV screen can ensure quality time for our village youth. Watching a movie about Van Gogh gives one a lot of new knowledge and taste,” is his one example of how simple yet engaging and useful community life can be in Armenia.

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