Sari Janaparh is a catch-all for a gaggle of projects in the Berd region of Tavush prvince in Armenia. We've been at it for a couple of years now, trying to attract investment and tourists to this off-the-beaten-track little corner of this magnificant country.
So far, Sari Janaparh has been able to bring quite a bit of life to the region!
- Bed and breakfasts in Artsvaberd, Berd, and Tavush village
- A gastrokitchen in Norashen, with soon a bed and breakfast
- Innovative greenhouses using ponics technology in Berd and in Nerkin Karmiraghbyur
- Hiking trails and guides through the fields of the upper villages, from Artsvaberd to Norashen (and dinner at the gastrokitchen)
- Spectacular views that let you see four villages down the valley from the park above Chinchin village
- A community based sewing project in the village of Aygepar
- A carpet weaving center in Berd
- Honey production in several of the villages
- Wine production in Berd
- A women's academy coming up soon in Berd
There are a lot more little pearls of wonderful new experiences to be had in the Berd region. And the amazingly fresh air is a free bonus!
We want to continue to contribute to the development of livelihoods and healthy lifestyles in the Berd region.
Please help us do that!
So much going on along the Sari Janaparh!
Let's bring you up to date on the latest developments that are ongoing due to wonderful donors from around the world.
- The Aygepar Community Center (ACC) in the village of Aygepar is in full swing with the pyscho-social community development training program finished and both crochet and sewing projects established through the center. They have adopted the brand name of Aygezart which you will see more of soon! Already Aygezart has presented a pillow cover with the three Finnish symbols of Christmas (Faith, Hope, Love) embroidered on it. And, they have an order for dozens of Norwegian Christmas cushion covers, too! Our warmest thanks go out to the donors from Sweden! Our goal on this is for the ACC to become a subcontractor for large clothing factories in the Yerevan area who are having trouble finding skilled seamstresses. By pulling in women from not only Aygepar, but neighboring Nerkin Karmiraghyur and Tavush villages, we can create a viable production unit, creating critically needed jobs for women in those villages. Then when this model works, we start a similar production unit up the hill in Artsvaberd.
- The Berd Women's Resource Center is quickly developing in Berd with the five bed and breakfast rooms in the third floor completed, and a donation from Finland being received to complete the Training of Trainers Center up under the roof. And in the garden, another donor has funded the construction of a ponics greenhouse. Amazing progress!
- Also in Berd, the TUMO center for Creative Technologies was visited by their donor from the USA. Dozens of kids are there every day to learn new skills within programming, graphics and more, equipping them for the modern labor market.
- In the village of Tavush, the Real Tavush Bed and Breakfast has just finished the entire kitchen and veranda area downstairs with funding from a donor in the USA, and just this morning we have received word that the upstairs bath and rooms with be renovated by another donation from the USA.
- We also know that an educational ponics greenhouse system will be built in the village of Nerkin Karmiraghbyur, financed by an Austrian donor.
So, the activity level along the Sari Janaparh is rapidly rising! A lot more things to see in ponics systems, Tumo, hiking, red book berry plant farming. And, lot more places to stay, with modern bed and breakfasts in Tavush village, Berd and Artsvaberd.
There are a lot of other projects coming up in the region, so please keep up your support for HDIF's efforts to bring a bit of prosperity to this forgotten bordering region.
We in HDIF have been up at the Sari Janaparh (Mountain Road) quite often recently! Why? Because that region that straddles Tavush and Gegharkunik provinces is way off the beaten track - literally on the other side of the mountain from the heavily used asphalt road, and right on the border. That's why HDIF is focusing on this region. Tourism has never reached that area. There has not been a decent place to stay. And there has not been tempting places to eat. Poverty is high. Jobs other than the military are hard to find.
We are seeing the results of our had work and that of others. The groundwork for sustainable development is being laid.
Places to Stay: There is a very nice four room bed and breakfast in Artsvaberd. Two more rooms will be added at the gastroyard in Norashen if we can raise the funds. Within two months, four B&B rooms will be ready for use at the Bears & Berries center in Berd. And HDIF's affiliate in the US has raised funds to development two rooms and a kitchen/dining area at a B&B in the village of Tavush. That is 12 rooms in the entire region that are of a standard for tourists. HDIF has done intensive hospitality trainings with the owners... clean toilet, quality mattress, and hundreds of other little points that are important for a successful host to know. This is giving solid results.
Things to Eat: This is still sparse in the Sari Janaparh region, and where we want to focus in the next phase of the project. There is a nice gastroyard in Norashen run by a young couple, also with a wonderful bread baking capacity. There is the potential for another gastroyard in the village of Tavush. There is one modern cafe in Berd. But otherwise, things are sparse and thus our focus on this part of the successful tourism package.
Things to Do: It's getting very exciting! Hiking is a natural. There are incredible views from almost every village in the region. HDIF has already hiked from the B&B in Artsvaberd to the gastroyard in Norashen, through waving fields of grain and vast stretchs of sunflowers and panorama views all around. There is an Eco Education Center in Martuni on the Getik Valley end of the Sari Janaparh, and the Bears & Berries Eco Center in Berd. There is a high tech agriculture education unit at Bears & Berries and another will be coming at the school in Nerkin Karmiraghyur. In Aygepar, HDIF has started an intensive community development project, which we hope will result in hand made production units which will give master classes. And in Berd there is a carpet weaving center which is well worth a visit. Also in Berd is a kids' art studio. All this in this forgotten corner of Armenia.
Your conrtibution to HDIF's Sari Janaparh project lets us push this forward. There is so much left to be done - there are 18 villages on the Berd end of the Sari Janaparh, and half a dozen on the Getik Valley end. We want to bring opporunities to entrepreneurs in as many of these as possible, one small project at a time - with your help.
If you want to adopt a specific project, let us know! We have a dozen years of experience doing this work. We love it, and want to do more.
HDIF's Sari Janaparh project aims to develop develop communities in bordering villages in the Tavush region. We focus on tourism - things to do, things to eat, and places to stay. Due to limited recreational and touristic trail development projects in the area, the touristic potential is largely unexploited in the region. By developing these, communities are made stronger, incomes made bigger, and the future made brighter.
In Aygepar, a village located directly on the border, a project concept has been hatched. During Soviet times, there were tobacco and wine factories in Aygepar, but they ceased to work decades ago. Today people living there don’t work in agriculture or animal husbandry as is common in the area, as they don't have land. Instead, most of the inhabitants of Aygepar, men and women, are engaged in the military, protecting Armenia's borders. This however, is hard on the mental wellbeing of the community. The need for other sources of income is acute, and thus the idea of a new project was hatched.
How about a community center?
Meetings have already been held with both the residents and the mayor of Aygepar. Their motivation is high to have a center of activity in the village to discuss common problems and identify solutions to them. And, the need to create new sources of income for the people there - so how about a carpet weaving center? or a group of crocheters to make products for export? The ideas at this initial meeting were many, and HDIF is in full swing trying to design a project that is tailored to the needs in Aygepar and can become a sustainble structure in the future.
Already 32 women have signed up to join the project and many more will join when there is a concrete offer for them.
Yes, HDIF is always working hard to create opportunities in communities far from the capitol, and in communities where the help is most needed.
Thank you for your support to Sari Janaparh!
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