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The road to Javakhk is long and hard for everyone

The delegation of the Federation of Youth Clubs of Armenia left early in the morning to the village of Khando in Akhalkalaki where a meeting-discussion was to take place at the one-year old Smart School club.

We left the Aragatsotn, Lori and Shirak regions and reached the border; Armenian roads are pleasant for drivers. Many people say that the road to Javakhk is bad in the Georgian part, but I did not imagine that it was so ruined and dangerous. We were comforted only by the interesting manifestations of nature and diversity of wildlife.

Throughout a whole village there were stakes, on the other side the eagles were proudly sitting on the stones, and then polka doted cows cats and a group of starlings. There is still some way left to get to the village of Khando, and while reaching to the village I tried to get some information.

Khando (Georgian, ხანდო) is in the municipality of Akhalkalaki in Samtskhe-Javakheti, Georgia. 10 km north-west from the center of Akhalkalaki, on the right side of the river Parvana, not far from the clay. In 1830, to Khando immigrated from the village of Khachkavank in Erzerum, Western Armenia, and from Basse to Kars. In the Russian-Turkish war, which began in April 1828, the forces of General B. F Paskevich captured Javakheti Akhalkalaki and it ended with the Adrianapolis Reconciliation Treaty (September 2, 1829), by which the cities of Akhaltsikhe, Akhalkalak and Tsalka went to the Russian Empire.

About 7300 Armenian families from the provinces of Erzrum, Basen, Bebere, and other regions of Western Armenia, headed by Archbishop Karapet Bagratuni, immigrated and settled in Akhaltsikhe, Akhalkalaki and Tsalka, rebuilding and establishing more than 60 villages and 50 churches. Including the village of Khando and the St. Gevorg Church of Khando (monastery). In Khando, Maga (Margush) Akopyan and Anahit Yeprikyan greeted us, the latter living in Russia, spending her summers in Khando. Maga is a luminous girl who set out to create a youth club and an opportunity to give the village youth an opportunity to express themselves and activate the inner life of the village. Of course, it is difficult when the maid breaks stereotypes in the village but she has succeeded. The Smart School Club of the Federation of Youth Clubs has 12 members. "There are not many active young people, but after your arrival, I think we will double," says Maga. "The village is 700, but in the last few years there are barely 300 people." Quickly and gladly tells about the missing infrastructure in Javakhk for the interests of young people and hopes that they will be able to work a bit. For taking some rest from the road, we are hosted by the Akopian family. Ashugh Alik Javakhk and Javakhq Dance group instructor Lamara Kspoyan were waiting for us. There were delicious foods on the table, delicious harissa, ajma, cheese assortment, lavash, in a word, dishes made and cooked by them. The discussion begins at the table, but it does not last long because the young people of the village were waiting for the House of Culture in Khando. The house of culture, on which wall there is still a sign, A house of culture, builders also mentioned the date of creation, 1934, has not been renovated since its creation. Village head Ashot Saharyan says that they still use tables, chairs and office furniture from Soviet era.

In front of the House of Culture, with bread and salt we are welcomed by volunteers of the youth club. Everyone is happy. One of the boys is happy to say that at last they will tell everyone what they are doing. The majority in the village does not know what volunteering is. Mayor of Ashot Saharyan, Ashugh Alik Javakhk and Chairman of the Akhalkalaki Sport and Youth Committee Sargis Melikyan greet young people. President of the Federation of Youth Clubs Atom Mkhitaryan presents the organization's mission, explaining the types of education affordable to everyone, highlighting non-formal education, youth work, learning opportunities and acquiring young people's knowledge and skills. The Federation of Youth Clubs of Armenia, the largest youth organization in Armenia, has an umbrella role, bringing together more than 100 youth clubs and organizations.

It provides opportunities for self-expression, self-discovery of hundreds of young people, as well as about 700 young people every year in European countries to participate in long-term and short-term training programs, seminars and camps. Maga Akopyan, who participates in the Youth Club Conference in Yerevan, decides to create a youth club in her village. Smart School Youth Club is a member of the federation ( since 2017. After the official meeting, the village youth acquainted them with the sight seeings of the village, and told about the programs implemented by them within one year. They were diverse, environmentally friendly, educational and cultural. The village life has intensified after Maga's initiation, admits Sargis Melikyan, who always supports young people.

The second day began in Tonratun, Maga's grandmother had invited the people coming from Yerevan and the young people of the village. She was telling me about making different tasty dishes in the tonir. It was a special salty gata with khoriz.

The next stop was the cave castle built by queen Tamar, where the club members made a cognitive visit. They read the books, the writings, and presented us the story of the castle. After two unforgettable days in Khando, Atom Mkhitaryan hoped that in a year, the Smart Club would expand and will launch and implement new and interesting ideas.

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