----- Santa Barbara, Ca
By: Anita Tokatyan
It was a colorful start to fall quarter at UCSB when The Hidden Road Initiative met Monday, October 15 to greet familiar faces and eager new members. HRI is currently headed by co-directors Astkhik Hakobyan and Atina Manvelian, two highly dedicated and motivated students keen on making this organization thrive.
The meeting progressed with introductions filled with fun ice breakers, interesting experiences, and comical stories. After giving background on HRI’s beginnings and past projects, Hakobyan discussed HRI’s projects in Akhpradzor and her most recent trip to the village Kosh (click here to read about her trip). Once there, she assisted Sopha Harutunyan, a chiropractor who also studied nursing, in administering clinical care to many villagers.
During these check ups they discovered 70% of the individuals examined had spinal injuries or related issues. To extend more care, HRI will be raising funds in 2013 to send a chiropractor to treat their spinal conditions.
Currently, HRI is beginning its new project to provide heaters for schools in six villages in Armenia. The winters are very cold and students do not attend school because indoor temperatures can be as cold as outdoors. In addition, the schools need stoves to bake bread because many children do not eat lunch if the school does not provide it.
To fund this project, HRI will be hosting Feast of Screams, a costume dinner-dance party on Monday, October 29th from 8-11pm. The event will be held in UCSB’s Multipurpose Room, located in the Student Resource Building. Tickets will be sold for $5 at the door, and we will be serving Mediterranean dinner, non-alcoholic beverages, and delicious desserts for our guests. We encourage all students to attend and dress in their best costumes!
For more information about Feast of Screams, please click here to join our Facebook event!
A reflection of Astkhik Hakobyan's trip to Armenia during the Summer of 2012.
-- By Astkhik Hakobyan, Director of Operations
As I sat in my Isla Vista apartment during the Spring quarter of 2012, I thought to myself, what will I be doing to pursue my interests this summer while making a difference in the world.
With the thought of Armenia far from my mind, and as silly as this seems to me now, I decided to gather the courage to email a certain established, successful nurse and non-profit organization co-founder, Salpy Akaragian. To my surprise, my email asking for guidance was answered with a telephone call from Salpy, herself, inviting me to be a part of that summer's mission in Armenia. In shock and taken over by excitement I jumped around in my apartment, hugging my roommate, Atina, who was the one who encouraged me to contact Salpy.
With the possibility of a trip to Armenia in my hands, I decided to take on another project very near and dear to me, the Hidden Road Initiative summer camp. Although last year's camp was more technologically based, the HRI mission is to connect roads and bridge issues; what better way to incorporate my passions with HRI's motto than by leading a medical mission that could better assess the medical needs in Akhpradzor.