With a dream of one day becoming a computer programmer, 15-year-old Edmon Harutyunyan spends much of his time helping to install or update software programs on his neighbor’s computers in Paravakar. Free of charge, of course.

“I won’t accept payment. It’s shameful for me to even talk about that,” said Edmon. “There are only two or three people in the village who can do this, and one of them is me. I know everything about programming. I am good on informatics at school and I always get at least a nine out of ten on my exams.”

Edmon’s father died of a heart attack four years ago and his older sister moved away when she got married. When Edmon’s brother left to try his luck with a job in Russia Edmon was left alone to help his mother and grandmother in this small town in Tavush Province. Two years ago Edmon became a recipient of the Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP), though which he receives a monthly stipend from a family in the U.S.

“We have chickens and two pigs. My responsibility is to feed the pigs. I also go to the forest and collect wood for winter. We usually buy wood so whatever I can bring back is a big deal for us,” he said. “We have a small piece of land near our house where we grow potatoes, beans, corn, wheat and barley. We also make homemade vodka from mulberries, apples or pears, and that’s actually the only thing we manage to sell for income. Otherwise, we receive the state poverty subsidy and help from FAR.”

Once he accomplishes his dream and becomes a programmer, Edmon is confident that he will eventually return to Paravakar. “I like the village life. Although I would like us to have more activities here, like some hobby groups or a teen center, I hope it will change soon. And I will try to contribute to it,” he said.

In July, Edmon was one of the 140 FAR beneficiaries who spent three weeks at Aragats summer camp in Kotayq Province. “I have been to many camps but this was my first time at Aragats. I had a great time. I made some new friends from Berd, Gyumri and Yerevan. The activity I liked the most was the Olympic challenge. I was part of the volleyball, football, table tennis and checkers competitions. I even learned some new sports and games,” said Edmon.

He didn’t want to talk about disadvantages because he doesn’t like complaining, he said. He approaches life’s difficulties as best he can and in Paravakar he says he faces them almost everyday. “It is okay,” he said. “I’ve gotten used to difficulties.”