Aida and Haytoug were back at it, in the summer of 2008.
With a much more structured and extensive collaboration with the Naregatsi Art Institute, their project was once again implemented in an efficient, methodical and fully successful manner.
150 children attended the 2008 and fourth consecutive annual version of the “Aram Manoukian” Summer Camp in Shoushi, over a period of 21 days. Some of them had cancelled or postponed their vacation trips to the villages, in order to participate in the Camp. Some parents were “complaining” that at the end of the day, their children did not want to come home ! And that they were waking up way too early the next day, in their eagerness to rush back to Camp.
The program, thoroughly prepared by Aida, once again included numerous playful and instructive events, athletic games, a class of cultural expression, meals, science experiments in an amusing form, movies, and a special session of handicraft and artistic activities. Parallel to the games and leisure, the educational portion of the program is founded on patriotic, religious and cultural considerations.
“This year, in addition to the substantial assistance of the Naregatsi Art Institute, we would like to acknowledge also the valuable participation of a group of some 10 special volunteers, all students of the Arsen Khatchadryan State and Humanitarian College, who came to work with us at the Aram Manoukian Summer Camp”, stated Aida Shamlian, founding director of the project.
These young ladies intend to become teachers or child educators, and the Aram Manoukian Summer Camp was indeed the best opportunity for them to acquire the experience and knowledge necessary to the fulfillment of their aspirations. It was also a very encouraging and promising sign to see that the new generation and the local youth had embraced the idea of volunteer, benevolent involvement and dedication in the process of recovery and development of Artsakh and the Motherland.
The Camp received almost daily visits from various people and groups transiting through Shoushi from all over the world. One of them was the ARF - Armenian Junior Organization of Canada. Its 60 members actively participated in the closing ceremony of the Aram Manoukian Summer Camp. They also distributed, within the building of the Naregatsi Art Institute, a sizeable quantity of various goods and merchandise to the most needy inhabitants of Shoushi.
“The most - if not only - important achievement of this project”, says Aida, “is to put a smile on the faces of the wonderful children of Shoushi, to hear them laugh, be content and happy. Nothing else truly matters...”
“Shoushi is now our home”, concluded eight year old Badrouyk Shamlian, when, swallowing their tears after a 30 day stay in that unique town, the Shamlian family had to leave for this time again, surrounded by loving children and dear friends.
And one can never stay away from home for too long...
Until next summer, then.