The magic wand of COAF

“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.”

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