AYF Internship: Realizing the Value of “Khaghank” at Orran
By U. Arev Dinkjian
My Armenian is far from perfect. And even with the few Armenian words that I do know, I was still left defenseless in front of a group of children who spoke a dialect much different from my own. I thought I would hate it here. I thought I would be completely lost. But then, the children of Orran taught me the only thing I needed to know:
“Khaghank,” which means “let’s play.”
The children of Orran—an NGO in Yerevan that serves orphaned children and the elderly—come from low-income and, often times, broken homes. Their hands and feet are dirty when they arrive. Their clothes don’t fit quite right and have been worn too often without wash. They each have a story more heartbreaking than the last. But they still play.
Orran provides its children with a safe and welcoming environment. Each day they receive a home-cooked meal. They attend classes that are meant to spark interests in fields like woodworking, nursing, or designing. They are provided with extra help in school subjects. They learn dances and songs, and, of course, they play.
Regardless of the unfair circumstances many of these children were dealt, they still play just the same as I did when I was a child. They still laugh and hug, and although in many ways they’ve been forced to accept many harsh and adult realities of life, they still dedicate time to just be kids.
The children of Orran have taught me that regardless of income or culture or circumstances, play is a language everyone can understand. And I feel so blessed to have been a part of theirs.