| Guys like Tim Straight
inspire me. On this week's site there's a story
about a really cool project he dreamed up. Women
like Shakeh Havan inspire me, too. She's a businesswoman
who recently started a book project for kids in
Armenian villages that I hope you'll read about
Plenty of other people here, too - expatriates,
Diaspora and, especially forward-thinking locals,
encourage those around them to step outside themselves.
Which is where ArmeniaNow will be stepping next
Friday when we produce a special edition called
Next week on this site we will publish articles
about people who need your help.
That's not so unusual. Often we have reported
stories about social needs, including failures
and shortcomings, in Armenia. We do it because
its what journalists ought to do - show the country
as it is, even if it isn't the way we wish it
Often you have responded and asked how you might
help. Next week, and through January 3 (just before
Armenian Christmas) we will be giving you a way
to do that.
"HyeSanta" will tell the stories of
several individuals and families who could well
use a financial gift this holiday season (and
all the rest of the year). Of course there are
thousands such stories that could be told, so
we solicited help in finding those that best illustrate
common needs. A group of international aid agencies
and local non governmental organizations helped
our reporters find sources who are disabled, orphaned,
abandoned or merely bypassed or overlooked. In
telling their stories, we will also tell you who
might be trying to fix such conditions.
Maybe the way Tim Straight had the notion to
start a project for refugee knitters, one morning
I woke up with the idea for "HyeSanta".
My thought isn't entirely original, though. Every
newspaper I worked for ran such programs during
the winter holidays season. As far as we know,
however, no publication in Armenia has tried something
of the sort.
And for that very reason, a print version of
next week's ArmeniaNow will be inserted into about
30,000 copies of local newspapers. We want to
be sure that the gift of giving isn't reserved
just to our mostly-foreign audience.
If we don't collect a single dram, we will at
least, like Tim says, "plant the seed"
of helping Armenia help itself. That alone is
worth a lot.
I'm betting, though, that "HyeSanta"
will accomplish much more and am grateful for
a chance to employ advocacy journalism in a place
where every little bit can make a difference.
One thing I like about living here is that good
ideas usually get a chance to be tested. When
I first introduced "HyeSanta" to our
staff, the reaction was "Yeah, we could do
Yeah, we can. If you are who I think you are.