Warm talks over coffee in winter: how we communicated human rights to the people of Gyumri

author: Areg Galoyan  22-02-2019

Winter came to Armenia so suddenly that no-one knew what to do to warm themselves up, so we, the Young European Ambassadors of Armenia, decided to take all the warmth and knowledge that we had and visit one of the coldest places in Armenia, Gyumri, the cultural capital of Armenia, to work together with the kindest staff of Aregak first inclusive cafe and bakery, and spread a message on human rights enjoying a nice, warm cup of coffee with the people of Gyumri.

On 15th of December we were already on our way to Gyumri. We had special “human rights” cups with us. What made these cups different? Well, each cup had one of the basic human rights placed on its front, and on the back cups had a QR code, which when scanned, directed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Armenian. 

After two hours of chatting, laughing, sharing ideas for future events we finally arrived at cold, snowy, Gyumri, where the staff of Aregak inclusive bakery was waiting for us with open arms and warmest smiles. The venue was not chosen by chance: Aregak is an EU supported inclusive cafe and bakery, the first ever in Armenia, which employs people with disabilities and showcases everyone’s equality in the right to work. 

So, we settled in and learnt how the coffee machine works, and the crazy working day began. We had so many visitors, but Aregak staff helped us in treating each customer with love and respect. Jam-packed with clients, who came in cold, but warmed up due to small talks with us on human rights over a cup of coffee, Aregak cafe became even special with its decorations creating Christmas mood. Our visitors left the cafe with warmer hearts and a “human rights” cup with them, which will serve as a constant reminder of the importance of their rights. 

At the end of the day we were tired, hungry, but super happy because our message found its addressees. We bid our farewell to the supportive staff of Aregak but with a promise to be back one day with new fresh ideas.

Winter and cold were in Armenia, but none could feel it, because everyone was feeling warm inside, and informed on how to have their rights protected.