Project Week 2017: Being a Part of a Bigger Community

A week before the graduation, the entire UWC Dilijan community has another chance to spend some time with their friends and teachers before saying “see you in some other time zone”. This year all the Project Weeks (PW) were almost exclusively community related and included diverse parts of Armenia and Georgia.

One of the PWs was organised in cooperation with the Fuller Center for Housing – a non-governmental charitable organization that supports community development in Armenia by assisting in the building and renovation of simple, decent, and affordable homes. Working with the Fuller Center has become a tradition for UWC Dilijan students since the founding year. This time they worked in the village of Kasakh in Kotayk region helping the Gevorgyans, changing the lives of a family that has been crammed into tiny rented flats. By the end of the year they will have a safe new home.

Another group went to Lori province on their PW with Teach For Armenia. The project was aimed at working with the local youth to landscape the villages. In Lernahovit the group helped with renovating the benches in the city park; and in Medovka village they took part in renovating the playground and painting the walls of the school.

Art in the Community PW spent the week painting murals on the walls of Cafe #2 and the local kindergarten. The students enjoyed the week and appreciated that their efforts had a colourful and positive impact in Dilijan.

Those involved with Caucasus Connect went all the way to Georgia, with the aim of bringing teenagers from various backgrounds together using the non-political medium of creative arts and sports, and give them an opportunity to communicate and make friends regardless of borders, religious and historical backgrounds, much like the students at UWC Dilijan.

Rhi-Zone PW is a sustainability-aimed project led by UWC Dilijan students, which provides a platform for unemployed women of Dilijan to produce and sell plain and souvenir inspired eco-bags on the Armenian market. During the PW they had several meetings with relevant experts, trying to figure out the most efficient way of making it work. They went step by step through all the components of the project design, starting from the production technology of the eco-bags, to finding local counterparts and partners and finally, the realisation of the final product.

Additionally, Project Week featured several sport-related and cultural project weeks, with the engagement of local youth and partners. Project Weeks are a defining feature of the UWC Dilijan experience: students leave their regular schedules to take part in the intensive experiential learning projects that give them the opportunity to apply their learning in practice, to better understand the region, and to develop skills of leadership, planning and inter-personal communication. Often partnering with allied organisations, students work under the guidance of the faculty to design and plan their projects – typically with a service, cultural, outdoor adventure or an academic focus.