The road to hi-tech runs through Akori village

20 November 2020

By Nane Vardanyan,
Photos by: Knar Babayan

3 min read

The COAF SMART Center, well-known by many as our business card, is home to over 1500 youngsters and adults from 27 communities of the Lori region. It is an innovative hub that unites people from dozens of villages that not only benefit from over 20 programs and services but also bring their culture, history, and unique perspectives with themselves. Akori village is one of these communities.

According to its villagers, the ancestors of Akori’s population come from the namesake village located on the slope of Mount Ararat. Though the date of the community’s establishment is unknown, one of the oldest churches after St. Gevorg dates back to the 13th century and stands still nowadays.

Before the winter covers the land of over 2500 people in a thick layer of snow, the villagers wrap up the fall harvest and make preparations for the long-lasting frosty winter wonderland in the rocky mountains and dense forests of Lori.

Despite the ongoing pandemic in the country and the sorrow of the recent war in Artsakh, people carry out their daily responsibilities.

On our side, we at COAF do the utmost to enable the youth of Akori to have access to quality education regardless of their location.

Our educational programs in Akori have had tangible progress over the years. In 2016, we opened one of our eight SMART Rooms in the cultural center of the village. The room, equipped with technological devices and a high-speed internet connection, serves COAF’s English Access and Aflatoun programs.

COAF Founder Dr. Garo Armen’s e-meeting with COAF’s students of Akori village SMART Room and Aragatsavan village.

Later, in 2018, we opened the COAF SMART Center in Debet village, which soon became the gateway to the modern world and professions for the youth of the region.

Mane Simonyan, 13, from Akori village, is our Sound Design student at COAF SMART. Recently she and her sister Nane received a tablet from COAF that would allow them to participate in our online programs. They are among 45 tablet recipients who will no longer miss online classes because of not having the necessary devices.

2020 propelled many of our plans related to digital technologies in education. We developed the SMART Citizen e-learning mobile application for COAF SMART Center students, prepared online education materials for both the SMART Center and our Village Education programs, and found ways to solve the digital divide among our beneficiaries.

These days, SMART online programs are part of the daily life of COAF’s youth in Akori village. While reaching the SMART Center would take them 30-45 minutes, now SMART is right at their hand. They frequently communicate with their instructors and friends, along with exploring their areas of interest online.

Our students grow up to become future tech gurus as the road to hi-tech runs through Akori and 26 other Lori villages.

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