LOS ANGELES—In the past three years, the All-Armenian Student Association (All-ASA) has raised close to $5,000 through tri-colored graduation chord sales. Initially the cord sales started as a fundraiser for the economic development non-profit, OneArmenia as part of an initiative to foster the growing honey economy of villages in Armenia. In the past couple of years, the cord project has evolved and grown to include the creation of the cords in Dilijian by local artisans and sold across the United States and Canada to raise money to support a school outside of Stepanavan, in a village called Medovka.
The project evolved once the only US Teach for Armenia fellow, Khachig Joukhajian made his way to the village of Medovka to teach history for his two year fellowship. Upon learned about the dismal state of the school and its dedicated principal, Susanna Avdalyan and her husband Gagik Avdalyan, the caretaker. Through the guidance of Khachig, a member of the Shant Student Association as well as the All-ASA, the money raised helped put a fence around the local park which consequently led to the creation of a girls’ soccer team. The funds also supported an indoor gym, complete with the renovation of the floor and walls, alongside necessary equipment to allow the school children an area to practice physical education in the winter. Conveniently, the labor is done by local parents and villagers that volunteer their time to renovate the gymnasium and put up the fence.
The current president of the All-ASA, Ripsime Biyazyan, met with the Principal Avdalyan, her husband and various teachers at the Medovka school in August 2018 to discuss further development of the project. As the new Teach for Armenia fellow from Vandadzor, Misak Martirosyan, embarks on his two year journey there is still many renovations that need to take place. In the coming years, there is an expectation to change the windows of the school alongside any new equipment the school may need.
The sale of the chords will begin immediately and carry on through the end of June. They are a great gift for someone graduating as they allow for Armenian students across North America to be unified by our culture. Cords can be purchased at all-asa.org for $20, including shipping. If a student at an ASA represented in the All-ASA would like to purchase a cord, they should contact their respective All-ASA Representative.
The All-Armenian Student Association works to unite various Armenian-American college student organizations and serve the greater Armenian-American community through cultural, social, educational, and activist programming. As the largest confederation of ASAs in the nation, All-ASA is dedicated to collaboration among its constituent organizations, leadership development of its members, and community service.