The magic wand of COAF

19 March 2018

By Tatevik Oganessian

2 min read

“I used to live in an ordinary village, and then the COAF “magic wand” changed everything,” Sasun Tonapetyan says. “Life has become fascinating. The renovated school is amazing; kids want to hang out there all the time.”

Sasun, an 18-year-old teenager from Lernagog, is just one of the many kids impacted by the COAF “magic wand.” He was just 7 when he started taking part in COAF-organized after-school activities and summer camps. But the biggest change happened when he was enrolled in a social and financial education project a few years later. Immediately after graduating, Sasun made a business plan, launched an organic farm and began producing egg and turkey. A few months later, he started receiving income. “I used it to cover some of my expenses but then realized I could also help an underprivileged family from my community. I planted a vegetable garden and starting providing them with food. After all, COAF helped me get where I am now, and I would like to do something for others, too.”

But it’s not just business skills that Sasun has received with the help of COAF. “I have a real passion for English language. Before getting enrolled in the COAF and US Embassy English Access Microscholarship program in 2013, I didn’t speak a single word. A now I can communicate and learn more about other cultures! A whole new world has opened for me.”

After finishing the high school, Sasun entered the Armenian Pedagogical University. He wants to become a psychologist. “But I will get back to my village and work here. I cannot live in Yerevan or elsewhere. I have many friends here in my community and I don’t want to leave them.”

Meanwhile, Sasun keeps volunteering for COAF events. “I would like to be in touch with them all the time. I cannot imagine my village without COAF anymore.”