by Nane Vardanyan
May 27, 2021, marked three years since the COAF SMART Center opened its doors in front of the youth and adults of the Lori region. 1096 days ago, Lori lived a renaissance spiritually, culturally, architecturally.
The spaceship-like white building by the architectural design of Lebanese-Armenian architect Paul Kaloustian established a new approach regarding landscape and nature. Though many recognize the Center by its unique undulating shape, SMART is more than just a building.
It’s an investment never-done-before in the region, where education, technology, innovation and art bring together creative-minded youth to learn, explore, create and share things together. The journey of each student at the COAF SMART Center can be accompanied by COAF’s social work, psychological and health services, upon need. Altogether, this comprehensive pack of self-development aims to foster community and individual growth, thus being an innovative way of improving the quality of life.
Here are a few quick facts about the COAF SMART Center and the achievement it has had for the past three years.
- SMART is available to over 150,000 people from 27 communities of the Lori region, including Vanadzor and Alaverdi towns.
- It offers 18 educational programs in languages, entrepreneurship, music, art, engineering, athletics. Students need to take at least four programs to become a SMART Citizen (to be considered a graduate), and they are free to take all the 18 programs upon their will.
- In order to successfully complete the curriculum, each participant needs to go through several learning modules: SMART Essentials, SMART 1:1s, SMART Trips, SMART projects, SMARTConnects, SMART Workshops.
- To date, over 2300 students and beneficiaries have been enrolled in SMART education programs.
- In 2021, SMART had its first alumnus Rudik Gharibyan, a proud COAFian and walking proof of SMART’s impact.
- We’ve made glowing memories with our guests during dozens of events, including SMARTConnects networking events organized both for the beneficiary communities and guests from all over Armenia.
- Adjacent to COAF SMART Center is the Concept Hotel by COAF, a social enterprise where 100% of the revenue goes to COAF’s rural development programs. Concept Hotel offers 12 cozy rooms, a signature restaurant, modern aesthetics in a rustic environment, and everyone’s favorite — the most gorgeous views to Debet village.
- SMART Center became the first seed of our SMART Debet village initiative. What then began as an education initiative, has now grown to an unprecedented rural transformation step in Armenia.
COAF SMART Center Lori is COAF’s largest investment since our founding in 2004. It was made possible through the contributions of COAF’s donors who supported this novel concept of rural development. SMART was a promise to rural Armenia we have been keeping thanks to the continuous support of our generous COAF community worldwide.
Our goal is to establish SMART Centers in every province of Armenia!
Next is Armavir and below is a sneak peek into its project.
Help us get closer to making the Armavir SMART Center a reality and celebrate Lori SMART Center’s 3rd with us by making a worthwhile investment in the lives of rural Armenian youth today!