Who We Are
HDIF works to initiate, facilitate, and nurture sustainable economic opportunities in rural and disenfranchised regions of Armenia as well as vulnerable groups. HDIF creates jobs in Armenian communities and commits to regional economic development. We pay our producer partners approximately 20% above Armenia's minimum wage.
Our primary goal is to empower women by giving them education and the necessary skills to be successful as independent business operators. This goal is achieved by organizing training on different business-related topics to encourage entrepreneuriship.
HDIF is a registered non-governmental organization in the Republic of Armenia. HDIF-USA is a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization incorporated in the State of California.
What is Social Enterprise?
Social enterprise has had significant impact around the world. It has proven successful in job creation, skills development, peace building, women empowerment, economic growth, and cultural enhancement. Handicrafts are an important productive sector and export commodity in developing countries. In Armenia, approximately 40% of the population lives at some level of poverty. The money received by our producer partners from the sale of their goods supplements their monthly household income. HDIF's seeks to promote financial stability, create stronger families, and stimulate sustainable rural communities, especially along Armenia's border regions.
The People Behind HDIF
Homeland Development Initiative Foundation (HDIF) was founded on March 25, 2013. It will celebrate its 5th anniversary in 2018. HDIF is a nongovernmental organization born of the Homeland Handicrafts project, which was founded by Norwegian and Finnish Honorary Consul in Armenia, Timothy Straight.
As a grassroots organization, HDIF is a non-profit effort dedicated to the creation of jobs - mainly for women in the rural regions of Armenia - by utilizing their traditional handicraft techniques. HDIF is one of the few social enterprises in Armenia striving to achieve excellence in all spheres and increased efficiency in all its projects. Contributing to the growth of HDIF are women, children, and disabled Armenians in over 10 villages and towns across the country.
The inspiration for HDIF’s beautiful products come from a variety of different places. For example, there are hand-knitted teddy bears that replicate a unique pattern introduced by a German nun who once lived in Berd. There are sewn kitchen accessories depicting traditional Armenian themes. We have dolls designed with the ethnic Armenian costumes of various regions of Western Armenia. Plus our tiny, crocheted animals, sewn iPad cases, knitted sweaters, beautiful embroidery, hand-hewn woodcrafts, and more!
HDIF Board of Directors
The all-volunteer Board of Directors in Armenia is responsible for steering the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting ethical and legal governance and financial management policies, as well as by making sure the organization has adequate resources to advance its mission.
Founder of HDIF
Honorary Consul of Norway
and Finland in Armenia
Executive Director of HDIF-USA
& Internet Development
Jinishian Memorial Foundation
Our Team in Armenia
Board of Directors
The role of the all-volunteer Board of Directors in the U.S. is to support the initiation, facilitation, and nurturing of sustainable economic development initiatives in Armenia.
HDIF's producer partners represent the skills and talent that make our products exceptional. Our artisans use techniques that have been handed down for generations to make beautiful and flawless handicrafts.
Produced in Berd,
Kapan, Gyumri & Talin
Produced in Sisian & Chambarak
Produced in Goghovit
Produced in Spitak,
Vardenis, Berd & Koghb
Produced in Yerevan
by Syrian Armenians
HDIF enjoys a collaborative relationship with its organizational partners. We work toward shared goals to improve the standard of living and quality of life for the Armenian people. Together we deliver practical solutions to societal and community issues.
American University of Armenia
Armenian International Women's Association - San Francisco
Armenian General Benevolent Union
Armenia Tree Project
Jinishian Memorial Foundation
The Civilitas Foundation
The Green Bean
U.S. Agency for International Development
Women's Resource Center
Women's Support Center
What's Craft Tourism?
Craft Tourism” is a form of community-based tourism that is receiving an increased attention from government and non-governmental organizations, especially those that have long been involved in community and economic development in Armenia. HDIF can offer visitors trips to our producer partners, master classes on location, and an unforgettable, off the beaten track experience.
With its partner organizations that specialize in eco-tourism, outdoor adventures, leisure, gastronomy, and culture, HDIF is excited to lead the initiative for craft tourism in Armenia. Some of the benefits include empowering local people, improving resource conservation, diversifying tourism products, faster economic growth in the regions by promoting improved food and lodging, and improved welfare and equity. HDIF believes that the local culture in its myriad forms and expressions is an important element of a destination’s uniqueness and appeal.