Creating Incentives and Jobs for Akhtala's Development

Wednesday, September 28, 2016
The USAID-supported Nurik Center in Akhtala that employs local community members, including people with disabilities.
Armine Karabekian, USAID/Armenia

During the sun-packed ceremony on September 27, USAID Armenia Mission Director Debbie Grieser, Governor of Lori Arthur Nalbandyan, Akhtala Mayor Haykaz Khachikyan, Save the Children Armenia Country Director Arsen Stepanyan and the Chairwoman of the Armenian Young Women’s Association (AYWA) NGO, Lilit Asatryan joined the residents of Akhtala to celebrate the official opening of the town’s new Nurik Center and Eco Café.

The Nurik (pomegranate) Center was established by the USAID-funded LIFE program in 2016 in cooperation with AYWA. The Center is strategically located next to the popular touristic site of the Akhtala Monastery, renowned for its breathtaking frescoes. Along with its visitor shop and café staff, the Center has already created full-time jobs for five people with disabilities while contributing to Akhtala’s and the region’s aspirations for tourism development.

As a unique cultural hub, Nurik offers its guests an opportunity to witness the making of the traditional Armenian bread lavash; observe, co-create and buy traditional Armenian woodcraft articles and souvenirs made by people with disabilities; and enjoy a spectacular view of the 13th century monastery from the windows of the Eco Café while savoring fresh bread, sweets and Armenian noodles arishta among other local dishes.