In December 2020, the first two TUMO Boxes were opened in Gavar and Berd. The aim of the project is to bring TUMO’s educational experience to even the smallest communities in Armenia and Artsakh. In each Box, the job of coordinator, coach, and mentor is entrusted to one person. These multifunctional “ambassadors” of TUMO Box are Gagik in Gavar and Narek in Berd.
Gagik Gharabaghtsyan, 26, was one of TUMO’s first students and had to cover 130 km twice a week to learn how to build robots and websites at TUMO. “The students at the Box are more fortunate. They walk a few meters and their only problem is overthinking their future plans. ”
After the army, Gagik managed to do almost everything. He studied in Gavar, as well as Sweden and Spain. He’s worked for NGOs and as an advisor to the governor on a voluntary basis for five years. He was also a schoolteacher, and continues this tradition by simultaneously teaching at the Agricultural College, while studying for a master’s degree and working at TUMO Box. “TUMO made a big splash in Gavar. We have a long line of students waiting because of the limitations due to the pandemic. Many people even make unsuccessful attempts to register their children using their connections,” Gagik laughs.
“In general, we lack activity in Gavar. There are no entertainment venues, so you will not see young people on the street after 6 pm. In addition, during the Soviet Union, we had 12 factories producing high-tech products in the city. They do not exist now, but the children have inherited the technological inclinations, and the newly arrived TUMOians are proof of that. The youth must be educated and stay to develop Gavar, there’s no other way,” says Gagik.
Let’s move to the border town of Berd, Tavush, to learn more about 23-year-old Narek Zargaryan. Cinematographer Narek is studying at the Yerevan Theater and Film Institute. Narek didn’t think too much about choosing a profession. While still at school, he was asked to take pictures, make shots for the school newspaper, and teach the children to use the equipment in the school club. Narek also makes films outside the university. “Different NGOs order reports, but I make them as film-like as possible. It’s more interesting to me that way. But I also managed to make documentaries. I see myself in that genre, because you really feel the protagonist. I realized this when we came under fire during the shooting of one of the films, while the heroes of the film were in that situation every day, sometimes having to harvest their fields at night.”
Narek has been developing an idea for a film for 10 years and, according to him, he has already managed to write it in full. But now the TUMOians are the center of his attention. “I was a very rowdy and devilish child, so I often understand the behavior of teens. But most of all, I understand how important it is to be equipped with whatever you need, as a few years ago it was much more difficult. Now all they have to do is learn how to make Berd the center of the world. We have to solve the issue of long waiting lists to sign up for classes. Gavar isn’t the only one in this situation!”, says Narek.
The third TUMO box will open soon in the city of Sevan and The Gagik and Narek Multifunctional Coordinators Guild will have a new member.