I really like how you’ve gotten been concerned with a number of manufacturers and organizations to affix forces and lift cash for Armenia Fund. Are you able to inform us just a little bit about what you’ve been engaged on?
I by no means hesitate to get entangled in serving to Armenia, though it may be irritating being so distant. Watching my homeland cope with financial collapse and COVID-19, I knew I needed to do extra throughout this pandemic. Armenia has survived a genocide and is at the moment coping with Artsakh, a area of ethnic-majority Armenians, doubtlessly being stripped of its sovereignty. With this cataclysmic assortment of occasions taking place proper now in Armenia, it’s so necessary to get the phrase out to mainstream information sources. Most individuals aren’t acquainted with what’s going on, because the conflicts and historical past of Armenia and its persons are huge and complex. So when my expensive pal Olivia Jamgotchian reached out and requested if I might change into a founding board member and advisor for Armenia Support Fund, I, after all, didn’t hesitate to get entangled. ASF was based on the premise of serving to Armenians stimulate the Armenian economic system with grants to bolster small companies in Armenia. We consider in encouraging companies to make enterprising long-term choices—empowering them to succeed by selling sustainable enterprise fashions and infrastructure. Up to now, we’ve awarded 45 grants to small companies, however the work isn’t achieved. We proceed to lift funds to make extra reduction accessible for a lot of enterprise house owners in Armenia.
ASF’s newest endeavor, Shop Shouga, is a digital bazaar that mirrors the open-air markets of Armenia to assist native designers and producers. The purpose is to assist Armenians promote their wares and for Armenians and non-Armenians alike to expertise Armenia from the consolation of their very own properties. This will likely be underneath the umbrella of ASF. Every time a purchase order is made, a contribution will go to the small companies in want of capital to increase their alternatives.
One other challenge, a collaboration between myself and Omnes All (offered on ShopStyleguise), was designed to mix trend and giving again as a result of, What’s the level of creation with out discovering a solution to cross alongside a few of that success? A bracelet, with the colours of the Armenian flag, tells the story of my previous, current, and future. Armenia is intricately part of me, and what an ideal solution to present that with a fragile bracelet holding the hues of all that’s Armenia. Additionally on Styleguise was the Honey collection, a group of a masks, scrunchie, and scarf, all in an exquisite, wealthy gold, created from 100% deadstock cloth. The Armenia Fund obtained 50% of the proceeds for humanitarian efforts in Armenia.
One other ardour of mine is Armenian espresso. It’s one of many issues I tout as greatest from the place I’m from, so the collab with Henry’s Coffee, creating the ASF mix, was a match made in heaven. Espresso is the final word equalizer, and it brings folks collectively, regardless of the place they hail from. All international locations have their very own particular mix. This mix was particularly for this collaboration, and 100% of the proceeds went to ASF. We additionally created a Homeland Tote, a bag designed to hold just a little piece of Armenia with you, wherever it’s possible you’ll find yourself. The bag’s proceeds have been divided amongst ASF (40%) and Armenia Fund (60%) and Kooyrigs (60%) and ASF (40%) on our second spherical, all helping Armenians in creating a greater Armenia for future generations. With all these collaborations mixed, we’ve raised near 80k for Armenia!
How has your platform helped you amplify Armenian’s voices?
For us, as kids of the Armenian diaspora, we all know the significance of “always remember.” We have been raised on it and raised on the tales of the Armenian Genocide. We have been instructed of our duty to ensure one thing like that by no means occurs once more. The duty is the place my ardour comes from and is why I attempt to use my platform to teach concerning the turmoil Armenia faces. My purpose is to make Armenian tradition accessible and to highlight the struggles within the Armenian group and in Armenia itself.
I’m all the time so thrilled when somebody reaches out saying that they realized about what’s taking place in Armenia from me or in the event that they tried Armenian espresso for the primary time based mostly on a suggestion I had made. I really like to indicate the gorgeous issues that Armenia is whereas additionally displaying the upheaval within the nation. As a result of if folks can resonate with a tradition, they’ll care concerning the struggling of its folks. Empathy comes after familiarity. How will you care about one thing you recognize nothing about?
Proper now, with every thing happening in Armenia and on the earth, I’m merely calling for peace, for kindness, and for endurance. For taking the time to know the place another person is coming from. It’s arduous typically to not get pissed off or indignant watching Armenia in ache whereas I’m so distant, however I attempt to use that emotion to assist, as gasoline for my hearth.
Solely time will inform what is going to occur in Armenia. Issues appear to alter by the minute. However what I do know is that I’ll proceed to talk for Armenia in any means that I can. Armenians can not and won’t be silenced. It’s towards every thing that we’re as a folks. We merely can not overlook.