Anushka Hayrapetyan a youth activist from Armenia spoke to Cultural Voice about her passion to mobilize and educate young people as well as her latest project 'Use Art,' a social enterprise geared towards increasing awareness about the Millenium Development Goals. At age 20, Anushka joined the National Youth Council of Armenia adding to the conversations on a wide range of youth-related issues such as, active citizenship, leadership, human rights, and intercultural dialogue striving to promote youth opportunities.
Recently Anushka, alongside her sister Arevik, have set up a blog to further their aims of youth empowerment. Anushka believes that young people have so much potential and face so many challenges. Teaching them about global issues affecting the planet such as global warming, violence, peace building. Young people use imagination to help address these issues by creating art. They can click on the art at http://useartproject.wordpress.com/ and learn about of the global challenges, such as the 8 millennium goals.
|Sisters Anushka and Arevik Hayrapetyan|
The site was launched in June 2012 as a social venture. The enterprise aims to create a variety of artistic products. They have started with earrings, but there are plans to expand with other products such as postcards. The products are designed and created by volunteers between 16-20 years old and are made primarily of recycled materials. The products are for sale in the online shop and profits from the sales are to be used to fund innovative educational projects. Generating activity and awareness about global challenges and mobilizing young people to address some of these challenges.
The team is quite small right now but Anushka plans to involve children from local children’s homes, to educate them to the issues, use their creativity to design and make products for the shop and then benefit from the proceeds of the sales. The project has been well received so far but Anushka is working full time and hasn’t had the time she would like to dedicate to it. The team intends to promote the site through international groups with interests in achieving the same goals. There are also plans to present the project to the UN in an effort to increase the project's audience.
The project is currently self-funded. However, she is trying to involve international partners through UN agencies and embassies. Anushka encourages people to get involved by visiting the site, learning about the global challenges, sharing ideas and create art projects for change and put them on their websites. The use art site has quizzes and games which are both fun and educational.
Use Art’s “3 in 1” model
- You visit Use Art’s website and choose a product (e.g. both stylish & meaningful earrings)
- You get educated about the global challenge (MDGs) or a solution (tree planting) depicted on the earring
- You help to raise awareness and inspire for action against global challenges when getting and wearing the earring or gifting it to somebody to wear.