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In the beginning, I was all alone

Vika Hovsepyan from Yeghvard, Armenia is passionate about creating positive change in her community. She began by initiating a recycling campaign at her school and now is involved in educational projects related to the environment. Her work is motivated by seeing the positive results and the support of others. Vika’s future goal is to collect and recycle clothes to help those in need.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who’s Vika?

I am Vika Hovsepyan from Yeghvard, which is a small town near the capital of Yerevan in Armenia. I’m 19. Since high school, I’ve tried to be active in my community and create something positive for others who have fewer opportunities or need help. I have been doing different kinds of activities in my community for more than five years now.

What is your work and how did it all start?

Around me, there were some problems which were visible and I couldn’t sit and just see what was happening near me. Everything started when I decided to create a little campaign at school involving some others who were interested. The aim was to collect paper and plastic waste and transfer it to a recycling center every three months. The reimbursement from our recycled items would be invested in the school to be used to buy some new plants, as well as for the school garden and sorting bins for waste or whatever else was needed. This became a tradition in a very short time. 

I just wanted to share my ideas with the students and teachers. I started to collect all the papers because the school was full of paper and there isn’t one day that paper isn’t used. I started to collect it and then I made a small pocket where I put them away, and the students saw my steps and they followed me. This is when the project became larger.

I started on a very large scale. Students and teachers became part of this project and they supported me and encouraged me. I got support and I became very motivated, even more motivated than at the beginning. I continued with new encouragement and new motivation.

I graduated two years ago but this tradition still goes on. After that I started to participate in environmental projects to deepen my knowledge about environmental topics and my behavior has changed a lot. New eco-friendly practices were formed in my everyday life. I started to use eco bags and water bottles and now I can’t imagine my life without these steps.

What projects do you work on at the moment? 

I’m part of the educational projects at Yeghvard NGO, where I’m a member and a volunteer. They organize educational projects for youth about the environment. I organise seminars and trainings for youth with fewer opportunities. There are also times when I am the participant and I strive to deepen my knowledge to be able to share it with others.

What does your work mean to you? 

My work is very important for me because I started the project at school and I like seeing the good results and the happy faces of people and their reactions and support. That gives me a lot of motivation to continue what I’m doing. My vision is for people to become more careful and more caring because nature is in danger. 

What’s next for you?

I want to continue my work by collecting clothes. Every year I collect clothes from people and just give them to those who have fewer opportunities and need them. In a few months, I will start and collect clothes that I will recycle. I want to open a second-hand store or engage people who have fewer opportunities than I had.

If you could send a message to other young people, what would it be? 

“Whatever you do, do it for a positive result and do it with all your heart.”

This is the key to success. 

It is very easy if you are motivated and want to bring change. There are only a few things you need to do. Have an aim, motivation for any situation and a strong will. This is the key because if you are not motivated if you don’t want to see a good result, if you don’t want to see happy faces, support, and change around you, nothing will change. You are the change. You will become the change and people will follow you. 

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