alphabet letter's pronunciation and words identified
by animated pictures on top of poetry, songs and
fragments of the Bible were pieces forming just
another book of Armenian language until two Armenians
representing today's sworn enemies put the pages
to the Internet.
Shirak Avakyan, born in Iraq, and Alec Baghdasaryan,
living in the United States, have come across
a way to bring their peers in one single cyber
residence by posting on the net a course book
of learning Armenian.
Free of charge www.learnarmenian.com
is primarily intended for the Armenian children
who wish to learn their ancestors' language but
it is also an opportunity for Diaspora adults
to find more contacts about their home country
and people living in it.
Composed and structured by schoolteachers, the
cyber course is divided into seven classes. Alphabet
letters, words and small texts are recorded by
a group of children selected by the web designer,
Shirak, and a number of patriotic songs, as well
posted on the web, are performed by an Armenian
Visitors, whose age varies from 5 to 40 years
old, can also enjoy Armenian poetry, a Bible for
kids and information about Armenia, pictures of
Yerevan, plus history of architecture and arts.
"When I saw this old lady looking at my
website together with her grandson", Shirak
shares his experience, "I felt happy and
encouraged to offer more."
Coming to Armenia was a lifelong dream of Shirak,
but also a sense of duty driven by the idea that
every Armenian should one day return to his homeland.
A graduate from the University of Baghdad, where
he studied physics, Shirak was already running
a small printing house at the age of 23.
He says he started his business in a small office
by borrowing money from his friends and managed
to cover his expenses by using his money rationally.
"If my father ever gave me $10, I would spend
them on books, and never on bad things."
But Shirak decided to change his path even though
his business was bringing him a good living. And
Armenia was not a smooth road.
"When I first came here," he says,
"I saw that life is much more different and
that I have to start all over again."
He started to learn computers and almost four
years ago moved to Yerevan. First working with
a small computer-designing agency, he later discovered
the Information Integration Group (IIG), an American
company that offered him a job in the Yerevan
Alec Baghdasaryan, who is the IIG director, financed
the Learnarmenian.com project that Shirak has
fully designed and is carrying it out now.
"We didn't think at first that our website
will become famous," says Shirak," but
when we saw the increasing number of our visitors,
we decided to expand our project".
Given his zeal for Armenia and passion for children,
Shirak has planned to release a CD containing
the cyber course and use its returns on rebuilding
schools in Armenia. He says he will use its first
revenues on the school from which teachers helped
him to build the language course.
Shirak also dreams to be able one day to organize
exchange groups of Armenian kids from around the
world and have them travel throughout Armenia.
Since Learnarmenian.com also hosts a chat room
for its users, it is a real "connection between
the Armenian children from Armenia and the Armenian
children from all around the world", as Shirak
speaks referring to his dream of bringing together
the kids who met through his website.