TRDP is a unique program in Armenia and Artsakh that enables Armenian youth from all over the world to participate in its everyday activities and be part of the team. TRDP closely cooperates with Birthright Armenia and other organizations and welcomes volunteers with relevant backgrounds who are interested in taking part in the worthy cause of development of rural Armenia through improvement of entrepreneurship opportunities and business environment among the rural population. TRDP offers a comprehensive program for those who want to contribute to the activities of the program and simultaneously improve their skills and acquire new knowledge in the field. During a volunteer’s service, he/she is involved in all the stages of the program: training sessions, business plan development & analysis, meetings with our beneficiaries, and visits to our beneficiaries’ business premises. Volunteers bring their international experience into remote rural areas of Armenia and receive the spirit and harmony of these Armenian villages in return.
One of our volunteers, Jordan born Garo Serpekian, who has a background in audio engineering and accounting, and who also plays piano & accordion and dances Armenian folk dances, expressed his wish to volunteer in Artsakh TRDP office in the spring of 2015. Garo loved Artsakh and TRDP so much that he expressed a wish to settle down in Artsakh and continue working with TRDP!
“My experience at TRDP was very enlightening and informative. I got the chance to meet with the locals from different parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and learn about their way of life and the daily challenges they face, especially regarding their sources of income.
The idea of TRDP and the work system is impressing, for it actually teaches people how to fish instead of giving them the fish. This gave me the intensive to learn more about it and try to be part of the program.
Reading and analyzing the business plans of the applicants taught me a lot about the different types of small businesses of the farmers and villagers, such as honey production, poultry, green houses, etc….
I got the chance to check the training materials and attend some of the training classes, which were a good revision of and addition to the knowledge I earned during my university study.
I believe the work of TRDP is amazing and I would love to be part of it as much as I can, now and in the future.”
Another volunteer in TRDP Artsakh office is Aline Kazanjian who holds a B.S. in Economics and Management from High Point University, High Point, NC. She regards her volunteering experience at TRDP as very fulfilling. According to Aline, the most interesting aspect of her volunteering was that she learned about the unique culture of entrepreneurship and hospitality in Artsakh.
“The most fulfilling experience while working with the TRDP program was a visit to an entrepreneur whose original business plan and loan request had been denied. This personal interaction with the small businessman gave me much insight to cultural differences of doing business. His hospitality was unique to the Artsakh culture. Being present during this meeting with the entrepreneur provided me with a very enriching experience. I was able to understand the entrepreneur’s goals and discuss his business ideas. We spoke about what changes he would make on his application as he resubmitted, and his projections along with feasibility of operating his business in his village.
I enjoyed working with rural entrepreneurs in this microeconomic development program. The business proposals were very interesting, as many of these businesses would provide new jobs in the community.
My supervisor and co-workers enriched my experience at TRDP as they were always helpful and taught me about Artsakh culture, business planning, business in Artsakh, and entrepreneurship. I received mentorship and gained valuable professional experience through my placement with TRDP.
TRDP has provided rural entrepreneurs with the education, tools, and support necessary for sustainable economic growth in rural villages.”