A strand of her pink hair behind her ears, with sparkling eyes, and the incredibly contagious smile visible even behind the mask, Shoghag is pushing against the rolling pin as hard as she can to give the dough a shape of lavash that she’s used to seeing in the supermarkets. Shoghag is not even noticing that her black skirt is all covered in flour. This is the first time she is trying to bake Armenian lavash. The fact that she’s doing it in her motherland makes the experience even more exciting.
From Lebanon to Armenia, Together with Other 94 Volunteers
Shoghag Bazarbashian is a 25-year-old Armenian born in Syria and raised in Lebanon who specializes in Marketing Management. Even living in the Diaspora, she had been working with Armenian brands to promote them worldwide. Besides her career, Shoghag has always been actively engaged in volunteer activities especially within the Armenian community of Lebanon. And why not volunteer and commit her skills to her motherland right here?
“I believe volunteering in one's homeland is by far, one of the most unforgettable experiences in life. To really stand close to my roots and fellow Armenians, I feel that a cultural immersion would do me a lot of good. Through my Armenian language teachers, I have learnt a lot about the Armenian life and Artsakh. Hence my desire is to have firsthand experience in the culture. I was particularly interested in experiencing family life within Yerevan and outside, since it offers a holistic cultural context that is undoubtedly different from what I experiences back in Beirut,” tells Shoghag. Willing to take some time out of academics, have a different life experience, and to calmly reflect on future goals and aspirations, Shoghag decided to join the Birthright Armenia family and is right now in Armenia, together with 94 other volunteers from all around the world.
There’s an Urgent Need of Volunteers in Armenia
Believe it or not, there’s an urgent need of volunteers for every field in Armenia, ranging from art to science, from architecture to social work and psychology. While living in the diaspora, many do not imagine that their physical presence in Armenia and their daily contributions can make bigger of an impact. One of the questions that we receive the most is “but I am a student, can I still be helpful?” Our answer is always the same, “anyone can be helpful.”
Throughout the last year, when Armenia faced a number of challenges, Birthright Armenia volunteers have greatly helped with their skills, experience, and enthusiasm to Armenia’s recovery. By saying contribution, we mean even the smallest projects they carried out together with local organizations—private and public, small and big, short and long-term. We continue encouraging our diaspora Armenians to think about becoming a volunteer in Armenia without focusing too much on what they can or can’t do here. Armenia has opportunities for all, there’s an important mission to undertake for every Armenian.