Armenian Youth Voices: "People are mighty, they just need to speak out"

23:34 Jul 31 2013 Armenia

Lena, 16, and her friends visited their regional authorities to remind them about child rights on health. Participation in World Vision Armenia’s training gave them power to be informed about their rights and about the rights of all children living in Armenia to pass annual health checking free of charge by local health posts and family doctors.

After completing the training session students from 10 remote communities of World Vision Armenia’s Alaverdi Area Development Program gathered their minds to monitor the local state on child health. The small percentage of the statistics they could gather showed that almost 90 percent out of 150 families didn’t know they had right on free health general check-ups.

Lack of health specialists and doctors in the communities make parents forget about their needs and children’s rights. Using home treatment as major solution when ill, people live with latent diseases from childhood. They turn to doctors only when forced by extreme poor health condition.
Through World Vision’s Citizen Voice and Action (CVA) advocacy approach people become informed on their soluble and insoluble issues. Informing other students at schools and sharing their skills on the topic Lena and her friends made their communities rise and stand up for their rights. Many parents were open-eyed on the info that they can turn to the health post once a year for general checking. Some mothers stayed suspicious if it will be free of charge indeed. After two weeks with the help of World Vision these six students entered the building of local Municipality to meet the Governor for the raised issue.

“It was for the first time in our lives that we could meet face-to-face our authorities, or just be heard by them on the issue we were worried. We gave the Governor the statistics we had from our small observation, introduced the local situation, and he promised us to work on that issue,” shared Lena, adding that the young group of activists plan to visit the governor again in near future to keep him accountable.

“The Governor was surprised to hear that youth stand for the rights of their fellows, but he was open to them and agreed to follow on the procedure of making the law work,” said Ashot Perikhanyan, World Vision Armenia Alaverdi Area Development Program specialist.

Little by little health specialists appeared in the communities, where no health posts were available at all. With no available technology and medical goods their work is still ‘green’, but it slowly takes steps forward.

“Lena and her friends are good examples for others to stand up and fight for their rights for the well-being of their children. Keeping government accountable and raising awareness within communities is the key to success for the remote communities’ survival,” said Varazdat Sargsyan, World Vision Armenia Advocacy Expert.

“We all should speak about this kind of issues to motivate others act for their rights. I shared my experience at home, at school, in the community, even during the TEDxKids talks at Yerevan, to spread the word in whole country, that people are mighty, they just need to speak out,” smiled Lena.
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