Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Armenian Adoption Adventure "Mer Doon" for orphans that age out of the system
Mer Doon Residence
Mer Doon (our home) is the home for orphans who age out of the system. It was started by a group here in California and they are progressive. These young ladies are going to college and a few have gotten married with some "babies" of Mer Doon past residents. They are learning that there is life away from orphanages.
From orphanage to womanhood, teens in transition find a warm home at Mer Doon
Philadelphia - I met the young girls of Mer Doon in Etchmiadzin last summer when I had the opportunity to visit Armenia for the first time.
My visit to Armenia was a two-month service trip with Birthright. I was privileged to have had the opportunity to live, work, and experience life with locals, as well as my fellow Diasporans, in the city of Gyumri.
My experience enlightened me and it opened my eyes to the true reality of Armenia beyond my impressions that were created from the stories I had read and heard. The simple life that I witnessed and which I became a part of is the Armenia I speak of today.
It was my last weekend in Armenia when I had the opportunity to visit Etchmiadzin and Mer Doon. I felt honored to be in the presence of the women who are so dedicated, devoted, and diligent to the needs of the young girls and to the mission of Mer Doon. This single day inspired new hope in me and reassured me that Armenia has more than just potential to move forward- it is moving forward.
Mer Doon does not just provide food and shelter to orphaned young women; it provides a real family and a real home to the girls who would have otherwise had dreadfully limited opportunities to create fulfilling lives of their own. I was welcomed with smiles as the girls stood up to greet me. I spent several hours with the girls as we talked, ate, and spent time together.
I was moved by the amount of care that is provided to each of these young girls, no less than the amount of care that a mother would provide to her child. The girls study in universities and are taught to maintain their home, their character, and their support for one another.
As a part of my service trip, one of my internships was in an orphanage in Gyumri. Through this experience, I am able to understand the incredible value Mer Doon creates for the young girls who are fortunate to be admitted into the care of this organization. It is difficult to say that I was often discouraged by the lack of care and attention provided to the children of the orphanage at which I volunteered in Gyumri.
I witnessed as the innocent children were reprimanded for not appreciating the roof above their head and the food upon their table. I felt helpless as the children spoke to me about the uncertainty of their future after they leave the orphanage.
Non-governmental organizations such as Mer Doon are the foundations upon which a stronger Armenia is being created. Mer Doon is providing life and hope to these young orphan girls who, in spite of their misfortunes, are truly fortunate to be under the care of Mer Doon.
It is our obligation, as members of the Armenian Diaspora, to support these efforts to ensure that the missions of these organizations and the mission of Mer Doon are sustained.
We Armenians are a hard-working, dedicated, educated people who create, improve, and inspire. We contribute to the efforts of the societies in which we live, but as Armenians, we also have a duty to our ancestral homeland. Only the cooperative efforts of diasporan and native Armenians can ensure that our immortal country will not only continue to exist, but will rise to a greater and more powerful state.
To learn more about Mer-Doon, please visit their website at www.Mer-Doon.com.
Please support Mer Doon today. Your kind contributions will go a long way.
Please make checks payable to:
Our Home-Mer Doon, Inc.
c/o 84 Ellsworth Blvd.
Kensington, CT 06037
There web site is:
Your contribution is tax deductible.
Noushig Hovhannesian, 25, volunteered with the Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC) and Birthright Armenia for eight weeks in the summer of 2010. She graduated from Saint Joseph's University with a Bachelor of Science in Finance, and is currently working in Philadelphia, PA as a commercial real estate agent.