Nareg Dekermenjian’s Journey in the Motherland with the Aleppo-NGO

I left Sydney 5 months ago to come to Armenia as a volunteer with Birthright Armenia.

As a Syrian Armenian, my desire was to help Syrian Armenians in Armenia as well as locals. I started working with Aleppo-NGO and it has been an amazing opportunity to get involved and be a part of this amazing organization. 

I have witnessed firsthand Aleppo-NGO’s support for Syrian-Armenians in a variety of ways including by helping them repatriate to Armenia and start a new life in their motherland.

Save a Life is one of the programs that Aleppo-NGO has initiated. 

Hundreds of Syrian Armenians come to Armenia through this program. I had the opportunity to frequent the airport to welcome Syrian-Armenian families to Armenia and observe the smiles on their faces. At first glance, I could not tell if the smiles were of joy of being in Armenia or relief of being outside a war zone, nevertheless the glances of gratitude and beaming faces gave me great joy and pleasure to have been involved in the Save a Life initiative. It was truly an emotional and humbling experience. 

I also managed to help Aleppo-NGO in its ongoing distribution of food and clothes to Syrian Armenians and played a critical role in the planning and implementation of its “Adopt a Family” campaign.

The Adopt a Family program identifies the most vulnerable Syrian-Armenian families in Armenia and seeks to find donors who are willing to Adopt that family for a sustainable period of time by providing monthly financial assistance. 

One of my most memorable experiences was to accompany 20 Syrian-Armenian kids to a 12-day youth camp in Vardenis, co-organized by the Aleppo-NGO and UNHCR.

As a leader and supervisor at the camp, I had the opportunity to spend quality time with Syrian, Iraqi, and Artsakh youth, which helped me better comprehend the richness of our diversity by discussing the different experiences Armenian youths have faced as a result of displacement from Artsakh, Syria, and Iraq.

It has been a self-gratifying experience to volunteer with Aleppo-NGO, not only because of the incredible experience I have had in supporting refugees but because the members of the organization became like family. 

I will definitely come back and continue the work I started!