Stories tagged with Armenia

Dec 12, 2010 AM Armenia
By Anonymous

By Abhishek Banerjee, KF13, Armenia

In 1991, the Soviet Union broke apart and Armenia re-established its independence. Declaring independence on 23 August, it was the first non-Baltic republic to secede. However, remnants of its Soviet history can be found throughout the country. Major infrastructure projects implemented under Soviet leadership still stand tall throughout the cities. However, as needs have changed, the buildings have been repurposed to adjust accordingly. One of the more interesting transformations across Yerevan has been the emergence of markets in former...

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Nov 11, 2010 AM Armenia

I have been spending the last few days in the beautiful countryside of Armenia, driving through the numerous mountains, valleys and other symbols of rural Armenia. This is a mountainous nation and the infrastructure throughout the country was built (originally by the Soviets and since expanded by Armenia) by blasting through these mountains. After spending the past few years in Middle America, this landscape is awe-inspiring to say the least. Unfortunately, my hosts do not share the same sentiment.

Microfinance is often criticized for...

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Oct 10, 2010 AM Armenia

What is the best way to get a whole office of micro-credit employees together on short notice?

Today I found the answer: pumpkin risotto.

As I am nearing the end of my Kiva fellowship in Armenia, I got together with my MFI staff at SEF International for a goodbye lunch. Armenia is known for its great barbecues, so I decided to cook up something new…and vegetarian.

The risotto turned out great, but the really amazing part for me was getting to know my co-workers in a totally new way. I’ve been working with the staff at SEF for three months now, but I usually...

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Sep 9, 2010 AM Armenia

If I’ve learned anything about Armenia, it’s that people here know how to dress up. On any given night, Yerevan’s main opera square looks like a fashion show: beautiful women and handsome men are dressed up and are struting about, arm in arm.

Until recently I had no idea how much clothing cost here, or even where it came from. A few days ago I went on a Kiva borrower visit in a clothing market in central Yerevan. Aram, a loan officer from the micro-credit organization SEF World Vision invited me to come along.

We enter the market wiggling our way through the...

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Aug 8, 2010 AM Armenia

I recently travelled to the small Armenian town of Sevan to visit a Kiva partner’s branch office. Armenians flock to Sevan throughout the year to enjoy either a lazy day at the beach, attend a wedding reception, or just to visit the  Sevanavank monastery, which is nestled atop a scenic mountain overlooking the Sevan Lake. Due to tourism, this town serves as an important marketplace where people from surrounding communities come to buy clothes, household goods, and food.

Upon my arrival at my MFI’s branch office the loan officers treated me to a feast of barbecued Sevan...

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Aug 8, 2010 AM Armenia

By Vanick Der Bedrossian, KF12 – Armenia

“What in the world is a diesel earth tractor doing in my MFI’s office!”, I thought to myself as I walked into Nor Horizon Credit Organization’s central office here in Yerevan, Armenia. Being a bit nervous on my first day at work, I did not ask.

My morning went along smoothly as I met Khoren, the organization’s friendly CEO, loan officers, financial analysts and so on. Soon my Kiva contact showed me to my desk so I could start working.

After a couple minutes two gentlemen came in. They...

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Jul 7, 2010 AM Armenia

By Peter Tashjian, KF11 Armenia

10 Random Things I Learned during my Kiva Fellowship:

1. Most people are good but carry memories of bad experiences. As soon as they address and resolve their interpretation of those experiences, their outlook on life improves almost immediately.

2. It’s a very emotional and life changing experience when a Kiva “Borrower Profile” you helped post is funded by hundreds of amazing “strangers” from around the world. Seeing the smiling faces of these lenders is very empowering.

3. Though the media...

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Jun 6, 2010 AM Armenia

“I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

Kiva – Loans that change Lives.


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Jun 6, 2010 AM Armenia

By Peter Tashjian, KF11 Armenia

Recently, some interesting data was brought to my attention. Apparently women entrepreneurs are able to raise funds more quickly than men in the world of Kiva. My initial reaction was that this is wrong. The people I know would treat both men and women equally. Why then is it that people seem to more readily lend to women? I know from history, some quite recent, where women have had less rights than men.

“Woman suffrage in the United States was achieved gradually at state and local levels, during the 19th Century and early 20th...

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May 5, 2010 AM Armenia

By Peter Tashjian, KF11 Armenia

A few days ago I visited the Noratus region of Armenia where the highest concentration of Khachkars (stone-crosses) can be found. Upon arrival I noticed an elderly lady quickly climbing up a small hill. My first reaction was, what is she doing and why? I was rather surprised to see her climb this rather steep small hill at her age and her determination seemed unwavering. I few minutes later it became clear. She was trying to reach a group of tourists to sell hand knitted goods.

She was helping her son’s...

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