Nairi Krafian: A bright girl from Boston who has donated her hair to Armenian children having undergone chemotherapy

My interview for Hayern Aysor is with a 21-year-old Armenian girl who was hosted at the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia and who amazed me and the staff at Hayern Aysor with her various kinds of patriotic and humanitarian acts in Armenia and in the United States of America.

Karine Avagyan: Nairi, I have been told that you are a member of Sayat Nova Dance Company of Boston. How long have you been a member of that famous dance company?

Nairi Krafian: I have been taking dance lessons since I was 3 years old. The Sayat Nova Dance Company has a children’s group called Apaga. I started dancing in that group, after which I was transferred to the adult group when I was in the 11th grade. Our dance company has performed in many cities and countries. Last year, we participated in the “My Armenia” Pan-Armenian Festival organized by the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia. We mainly dance Armenian folk dances. Our director, Apo Ashjian went to a dance school in Armenia. The director of that dance school watched us dance and said that those dances are real Armenian dances. During my current visit in Armenia, I go to the Cascade Complex on Fridays and gladly participate in the open dance lessons hosted by Gagik Ginosyan.

Karine Avagyan: Do you love dance? Is there any particular dance that is your favorite?

Nairi Krafian: Yes, dance is my life, and it helps me express my feeling of patriotism and my feelings for Armenia and the Armenians. I love all Armenian folk dances, but I love the “Karabakh” dance the most. This performance features a solo by a dancer who performs in the national costume of Artsakh. It is a very impressive dance.

Karine Avagyan: I was told that you are also a veterinarian and are currently in Armenia on that mission. Why are you dedicated to that?

Nairi Krafian: I love animals a lot, especially dogs. I have always wanted to help and take care of animals. I have been connected to animals since I was a child. We keep two dogs at home. I was always thinking about doing something in Armenia and for Armenia because that is how my parents raised me and my sisters. When I visited Armenia last year, I looked for an animal shelter on Facebook. I visited the animal shelter where the employees have experience in Horse Therapy, and I expressed the desire to do Dog Therapy. This year, I came to Armenia through Birthright Armenia/Depi Hayk and worked with dogs. Out of the 33 dogs, I selected three and worked with them for about one-and-a-half months as I followed various forms of their behavior. Among them there was a dog that was very afraid of people. Hasmik, one of the employees of the animal shelter, told me that that dog’s owners had treated him very badly, beating and screaming at him, and that is why nobody could approach the dog…I worked a lot with that dog and achieved the desired outcome. I will be very sad when I bid farewell to the animals I have taken care of and depart for the United States of America. I must also mention the fact that I have opened a new page called “OgnooShoon” (Help Dogs in Armenian).

Karine Avagyan: Nairi, I have also heard about your great humanitarian act. They say you have cut your long hair and donated it to Armenian children who suffer from blood cancer and who have lost their hair after undergoing chemotherapy…This is truly a sacrifice that is respectable…Let’s talk about that.

Nairi Krafian: This is the fourth time I am donating my hair. My hair grows quickly. I was a little girl when I saw a program about donating hair on television, and my sister and I decided to donate hair. We did this once every two years. I am willing to do it because I can make those ill children feel happy and a little hopeful.

Karine Avagyan: What other plans do you have?

Nairi Krafian: Now we will start bringing puppies with problems to the shelter and take care of their health. We will also be working with elderly and children suffering from illnesses.

Karine Avagyan: Do you manage everything, Nairi?

Nairi Krafian: I am also the director of the Armenian Student Council at Tufts University. We organize many patriotic events, and one of the outstanding events was the event dedicated to the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide. I wanted people to come and learn something. We invited a specialist who delivered a lecture devoted to the Armenian Genocide. There were also foreigners who listened to the stories very attentively. I think such events are more important so that we Armenians can introduce foreigners to our history, Armenia and the Armenians.

Karine Avagyan: Nairi, what are the prerequisites for preservation of the Armenian identity in Boston?

Nairi Krafian: First, the position of the family is very important. It is important for Armenian parents to provide their children with an Armenian upbringing. One of the prerequisites and the most important one is the Armenian Church. Other prerequisites are the Armenian schools, newspapers and the constant bond with the Homeland. I attended the St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School. I was in the 5th grade when I visited Armenia for the first time. At our school, when students finish the 5th grade, they visit Armenia for two weeks so that they see all that they have learned about Armenia in school. We have a newspaper called “Hairenik”, an Armenian church, an Armenian dance company and an Armenian radio station, and all this also fosters preservation of the Armenian identity. I am thankful to my parents who have always told me that we Armenians need to put in efforts to help our Homeland and the Armenians in whatever way we can.

As I end my interview with this bright, patriotic, smart, modest and sympathetic girl, whom I learned more about during a conversation with Head of the Division for Cultural, Sport and Youth Programs of the Department for All-Armenian Programs at the RA Ministry of Diaspora Greta Harutyunyan, I become strongly convinced that these kinds of young Armenians will become the link between Armenia and the Diaspora and will maintain the close cooperation between Armenia and the Diaspora.

Karine Avagyan

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