September 15, 2016 marked a new beginning for Ms. Gayane Aghumyan, one of FAR’s Armine and Garabed Zambag Scholarship recipient. “I got a call from the Fund for Armenian Relief and the lady from the other side said that I got the scholarship. I was both happy and embarrassed. I realized that I am not alone. It is very inspirational that someone believed in my abilities; they trusted me and they offered me assistance.”

Gayane Aghumyan, comes from Spitak, Lori Region. A reformist by nature and a philanthropist by soul, the 21-year-old student has decided to earn a Master’s Degree in Education Management to change the flawed and madcap rules and regulations in Armenia’s education system. “Although I come from a teachers’ family, I have never liked school and have always been critical of the education system. Education is the solid ground of the state. However, our teachers at school used to build frames and fences to make us feel hesitant to express our thoughts. In our classroom, I was the only courageous pupil to talk loud and to ask for alternative options on subjects. It’s not right: education is the air and we breathe it; imagine what will happen if you frame the air…,” she remarks stressing the importance that actions should speak louder than words: “The Education Management degree will further enable me to act rather than rub salt in the wound.”

Gayane’s enthusiasm and energy know no boundaries: since age 16, she has taken ballet classes and through her tenacious determination, she could prove that it’s never late to start a new thing. Currently, she works as a reporter and volunteers to help the most vulnerable.

“Volunteering is a lifestyle for me. In the autumn of 2016, I volunteered at FAR Children’s Center and in the course of three months, I helped the kids to improve their English language. It was a fulfilling experience that has brought a satisfactory exchange between me as a volunteer and the kids,” she says, adding “FAR has not only mitigated the procedures I was going through, but has also evoked an inner behavior and mindset of “giving back.” Once I’m done with my exams, I’ll get back to the Children’s Center to give dance lessons to them.”

From 2014 to 2016, Gayane volunteered to help newly arrived Syrian Armenian children to integrate into their new environment through overcoming language barriers – switching from Western Armenian to Eastern. Currently, she is involved in a project called “Tatiks-Papiks Program” initiated by the Armenian Red Cross that aims to deliver meals once a week to the elders living in Yerevan dormitories.