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Envoy Wins HOSCAR 2021


For 19 years, the HOSCARs have acknowledged hostels from all four corners of the globe with the highest customer reviews and ratings. This year, with the world in lockdown and travel put on hold, the HOSCAR awards have been restructured to recognise the incredible work hostels have been doing in their communities, and to support the industry, during the global pandemic.

Fabrizio Giulio, Chief Supply Officer at Hostelworld, said: “This year’s HOSCARs not only commemorate a difficult year for the hostel industry, but allow us to celebrate the incredible efforts our hostel partners have taken during this time. We wanted to recognise all their achievements.  

The HOSCARs are equally valuable to our community.  They provide a trusted way for our customers to identify the experience they want from their travels, and where to find it. It was important that our customers were still a crucial part of the awards and involved in selecting the hostels that deserve to be recognised for their excellence and extraordinary efforts.” 

You can find full list of winners here: 

Envoy Wins!

Representing Armenia, Envoy Hostel was crowned most EXTRAORDINARY Community and Social Impact Hostel by a panel of expert travel judges and more than 20,000 votes by hostel travellers all around the world.  

This HOSCAR award recognises envoy’s heartfelt charity efforts especially in 2020. In response to the war that broke out on the border of Armenia in late September 2020, many fled the war zone. Some of these refugees, somehow, found their way to envoy in Yerevan. Naturally, we accepted them with open hearts and did our best to look after all their needs. This included food and other essential needs like winter clothing. Most had fled without having the chance to bring much supplies. Many couldnt return even after the war ended. So we continued to look after these vulnerable families until they had proper housing to go to. Our efforts also included:

  • Fundraising efforts across the globe to collect enough funds to support all the families we were helping.
  • Entertaining the children to keep their spirits high. Most had their fathers, brothers, uncles fighting in the war so it was important to keep their minds busy. We would arrange entertainment, celebrate their birthdays and even take them on excursions around the city, to the zoo and to historic sights outside of Yerevan.
  • Arranging family dinner nights. We would purchase ingredients and together as one big family would cook meals to enjoy together. This would lift the spirits of all staying at envoy.
  • Visiting refugee families not staying at envoy. We took essential items and food to them. We also bought fire wood so they could survive the harsh winters.
  • One family we found (not staying at envoy) had 10 children. They were very poor and the mother of the family was suffering from serious illness. We bought them an oven and a washing machine so they can cook meals and improve their hygiene.
  • Helped start a small business! We bought a sewing machine for a young lady who had just learnt how to sew. She started to sew linen and sell the sets to earn an income.
  • We found work for a couple of people staying at envoy who were looking for work.
  • Joined a Dear Santa program, taking gifts to children affected by the war. Once little girl had asked for a desk as she loved to study and wanted to become a bank manager in future. Another little boy had asked for a bicycle. It was a joy to see their smiling faces when we delivered their gifts.

Envoy would like to thank Hostelworld judges and to all those who voted for us. Envoy has received HOSCAR’s 9 times in past years (recognised as Best Hostel in Armenia 7 times and also twice in Georgia). However, this years award is more important to us as it is a special international category and under difficult circumstances of both the covid pandemic and a war. Our team feels encouraged and committed to do more good in our communities and to help those in need.

We also want to say a huge thank you to all our networks, friends, family members, past guests and friends of friends who all helped in these difficult times. This award was possible thanks to each and everyone of you. Thank you for being there when we needed help.

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Taking in Refugees

Volunteers entertaining refugees

The Experience of Taking in Refugees

As soon as the war broke out, Envoy volunteered on taking in refugees. We knew it was the right thing to do. Our aim was to provide a safe place to stay and to look after all the needs of the families staying with us. Families were mainly women and children since the men had stayed stayed back to protect their teritorry.  Realising the concern of families about their loved ones who had stayed back as well as the uncertainty about their fate, we wanted to offer for than a refuge for all those staying with us. Our mission extended to offering care and creating a happy environment. We wanted to fill them with hope for the future and bring smiles in these difficult days.

Celebrating Life Events

We had the opportunity to celebrate the birthdays of a few of the children during the days of the war.  Making the children feel special during these difficult times certainly went a long way to bring smiles to them and their families. 

Excursions by Envoy

In the first weeks of staying at envoy, all schools were cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The children were spending almost all their time without any organised activity. So Envoy team members arranged a few outings to give the opportunity for the children to get out and about.

Getting into the spirit of what envoy knows best, we arranged a walking tour of Yerevan. All the mums and their children came along on an orientation tour around the city. We revealed some of the history and interesting facts for the children to learn more about Yerevan. Together we visited some of the major sights around the city and had a lot of fun together with our special guests.

On another occassion we took the children on an outing to the Yerevan Zoo. This was a wonderful experience for the children as many had never been to a zoo before. They enjoyed seeing all the different creatures and learning about them.

On another evening we took the children out for ice cream. This certainly brought smiles to their beautiful faces. Who doesnt love ice cream? 😀

Events at Envoy

All the local community came together during this difficult time and was offering help in many different ways. This included visits to the  families displaced by the war.  At Envoy we had a couple of events which definitely brought a smile to the children. 

The first event was a few volunteers who came to sing folk songs with the children. All the children gathered around in the envoy common room and sang familiar as well as new songs together. It really inspired a wonderful mood and smiles all around.

We were also visited by a locally renown artist/actor. It was a treat for the children to meet a celebrity who had taken the time to visit and encourage them.

We are very grateful for all who have volunteered their time. It has been wonderful to see the community come together. The support has been in many different ways, bringing hope, love and smiles to all affected by the war.

Some of the families we had the pleasure of taking in as refugees have returned to their homes after the war. This has allowed us to accept new families and extend our care to more people. This has been made possible by the many people around the world who have been donating funds to Envoy, whom we are extremely grateful for.

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Extending Help

Visiting the family of 9 in Meghratzor

Extending Help beyond Envoy

Thousands of families left their homes in Artsakh because of the recent war and found temporary homes in villages in Armenia. Some people have provided their vacant houses to complete strangers who also need help for food and other basic items. Envoy has been extending help to a few families in villages close to Yerevan and we have delivered food and hygiene items to them several times. The support for these families will be continuous as they are in real need and some even struggle with health issues.

Families that Envoy Currently Supports

Besides opening our doors to those who lost homes, Envoy has also reached out to families not staying with us. We have shown help to a few families temporarily residing in villages close to Yerevan.  Throughout the winter months, we have helped several families with first necessity products and helped them cover utility fees. From buying Christmas gifts for Bulghadaryan family kids in Nor Geghi to getting food items for Sahakyan family in Kanaker, we are trying to reach out to as many as we can.

From War to Dire Straits

Among all the families we are helping, the Yedigaryan family of 11 ( 2 adults and 9 kids) are the most needy. They are deprived of basic living conditions. The whole family shares a rickety house with only one room in Meghradzor village. Anahit, the mother of the family, currently battles breast cancer and may undergo surgery. Envoy will be helping her cover the medical expenses. Our team members have provided them with a washing machine so as to ease their daily household work. We also bought an oven for them so they can bake their own daily bread. Our team is constantly in touch with the family and we deliver food items in bulk as needed. The family wants to move back to Artsakh but it will depend on Anahit’s health condition. We will keep supporting them until they are back on their feet.

Big Thank You to Donors

All of this has been possible thanks to the support of our many friends who have generously donated funds to Envoy. Your kindness and compassion go a long way.

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Wishes Come True

Making Wishes come true

Wishes of children from Artsakh

A peaceful and happy childhood. This was something that thousands of children from Arthakh lost because of the war that erruted late September 2020. At a very young age, they had to wake up under the terrifying sounds of bombing. Forced to flee their homes and cities they had lost hope of safety. Many had wishes they believed can never come true. We had the mission to bring hope and joy to their little hearts. 

Focus on our mission

We actively reached out to various individuals and organizations to find information about the families who fled from Artsakh. We aimed to reach those families who found shelter outside of Yerevan and were less likely to get extra support. One of the very first families we contacted was Artyom’s family, temporarily living in the Kotayk region. 

Artyom’s long wanted bicycle  

10 year old Artyom, his mother and his sister are living in the sports complex of Tsakhkadzor along with many other families from Artsakh. They lost their home in Hadrut, and only after moving to Armenia, they were able to find a temporary shelter in Tsakhkadzor. Artyom’s mother, Ramela, lost her husband years ago and had to raise her kids alone. She told how her son wanted a bicycle for a long time, but she could not afford to buy it. Knowing about Artyom’s desire, we decided to surprise him on Christmas.

Thanks to our donors, we were able to get Artyom’s long wanted bicycle and visit his family. Seeing the joy in his eyes was all we were aiming for. Excited and super keen to try his new bicycle, Artyom Ignored the cold weather and snow covered streets and started riding immediately. He loved his new bicycle and promised to take good care of it. He also said he would teach his 12-year-old sister Meri to ride as well. 


Big Thank you to Donors

All of this has been possible thanks to the support of our many friends who have generously donated funds to Envoy. Your kindness and compassion go a long way.

Wishes do come true

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Christmas 2020

Santa visits Gohar for Christmas 2020

Christmas 2020 with Envoy

2020 was a tough year for Armenians, especially for those living in Artsakh. Due to the war, many lost their homes and fled to Armenia. Many families found shelter around Yerevan and in different regions of Armenia. We wanted to reach out to them, meet the children and make their Christmas wishes come true. And so that’s exactly what we did!

Become a Santa 

Finding the initiative called Դարձիր ձմեռ պապ (Become a Santa) was fantastic. By contacting the organizers, we received a list of refugee children from Artsakh who had written to Santa. After selecting the letter to respond to, we found out the destination where our Santa sleigh would be travelling to. Little Gohar was waiting for us in Haykadzor village which is 2 hours drive away from Yerevan. Excited to bring Christmas joy to her and her family, we happily started our journey.

Gifting a desk to the future bank manager

In Haykadzor, we met 8 year old Gohar and her family. They left their village’ Vurgavan in the Kashatagh region the day after the war broke out. Gohar and her 2 siblings, 7 year old Manvel and 4 year old Daniel, were extremely excited to see us. They were telling us about their new school in Haykadzor in Armenia and how much they wanted to go back to their village in Artsakh. Their mother, Meline, was very nostalgic, showing us the pictures of their house, friends, and school back in Vurgavan. Now living in their relatives’ old house, in the small village of Haykadzor, they were trying to restart their lives with the hope for a better future.  

Gohar loves studying and dreams of becoming a bank manager one day. She asked Santa to have her own desk at home to be able to do homework and perform well at school.

All of us at Envoy hope and pray that Gohar’s dreams of becoming a bank manager will come true.

Christmas 2020

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Wishes Come True #2

Wishes of Children from Artsakh

Christmas is the season of joy and gift-giving. For many children from Artsakh Christmas 2020 was a challenging period. The war that broke out in September 2020 changed the plans of thousands of families. Many left their homes and said goodbye to everything they had, including their hope for a better future. Many of the children had wishes and dreams they thought would never come true. We wanted to make sure that the kids kept believing in the miracles of Christmas and that they were not forgotten. 

Action to Help Out

We cooperated with various individuals and organizations. They directed us to families that fled from Artsakh and found temporary shelter in Armenia. Our main focus was to help those families that lived in villages and had less access to resources and support than those living in Yerevan. The Bulghadaryan family were one of the families selected for us to visit.

Christmas Gifts for Kids  

When the fighting intensified, Sargis Bulghadaryan decided to move his wife Anna and their 7 children from the village of Talish in Artsakh to Armenia. Sargis then returned to Artsakh to fight in the war. A doctor was kind enough to shelter the family in his summer house in the village of Nor Geghi. During one of our visits when Envoy took food products for the family, one of the children mentioned that Christmas would be very different this year, and Santa would probably not visit Armenia because he might be scared of the war.  We made sure that the kids wrote a letter to Santa  with all their wishes and passed it on. Luckily Santa managed to send us the gifts in time for us to get them to the children for Christmas. In addition, the presents not only pleasantly surprised them but also restored their hope in the importance of the season. 

Big Thank you to Donors

Christmas is the time of giving and sharing. All of this has been possible thanks to the support of our many friends who have generously donated funds to Envoy. Your kindness and compassion go a long way. Thank you for enabling us to reach out to those in need and helping their wishes come true.

Wishes do come true

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Fundraising Efforts

We have had an amazing amount of support from everyone around the world in support of envoy’s efforts to help support the displaced families from Artsakh. This includes past envoy guests whom we already consider an extension of our family. Especially our beloved ex-PCV’s (Peace Corp Volunteers). We have also had an outstanding community response from friends in Sydney where envoy has very strong connections. Though each of these individuals who have held fundraising events have done so from the heart and don’t expect any publicity, we want to honour and thank them by sharing their amazing efforts.


Pizza Luna

Thanks to Armond and the Hayrapeti family, an amazing pizza lunch fundraising event was organised at Pizza Luna. The turn out was overwhelming! So many family, friends and friends of friends attended. They not only enjoyed delicious pizza but also supported the cause with their donations. All funds raised was donated to help look after the needs of the families from Artsakh.


Crack a Frap

Over a couple of weeks Carla, Michael and their friends at Crack a Frap brought a smile to the community serving up freshly brewed ice coffees, smoothies and Greek style donuts. Their efforts not only raised much needed funds for the cause but it also brought the community together. Gathering at the Ryde Ararat Scout Hall, young and old

Plan B

More fitting to be Plan A, our friend Alexander Apanian hosted a trivia night at Plan B. Serving tasty burgers for dinner to a full house then followed by a game of trivia. Competition was fierce with all teams trying their best to win. It was a fun night and a great way to raise funds for the cause.

Health Focus Chiropractic

Our dear friend Raffi at Health focus ran an afternoon fundraiser offering professional chiropractic services. People came to support the fundraiser but also received a chiro session.


Sydney Hosanna

Sydney Hosana with a mission focus to build up people and share the gospel, celebrated their year end festivities with a fun fundraising event.

Everyone who came to the event brought any of their unwanted items from home which was then acutioned off. The concept being someone elses trash is another’s treasures. There was a wide variety of items ranging from paintaings, Tech items, kitchenware and beauty products. The bidding was a lot of fun and competition was intense at times – but all for a great cause. Everything got sold and everyone went home happy with their new treasures. All the money raised was donated to Envoy’s charity work in Armenia towards the refugee families.

Cruise for Artsakh

Several car rallies had been organised in Sydney to raise awareness about the war and what was happening in Artsakh. Funds were raised through these Artsakh cruises, some which were donated to envoy to use for the needs of the Artsakh families displaced by the war.

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Sharing Food

Preparring to make specialty bread

Sharing Food at Envoy

The word for friend in Armenian which sounds as ‘enker’ (ընկեր in Armenian) means ‘to eat together’ or ‘to share food’. After sheltering refugees at Envoy, we moved on to provide the families with food and help them feel at home.  Our team members quickly became friends with the families staying with us. Naturally, we started doing what Armenian families do best: cooking in large amounts and sharing the food. Besides sharing a roof, we are now sharing food with each other at Envoy. 

What’s Cooking?

A morning favorite of the kids before leaving for school is freshly-baked bread our staff get from a nearby bakery. The fun part starts when the kids are already at school. The women start cooking to make sure lunch is ready when the kids return. A popular item on the menu is zhingyalov hats. It is a local specialty from Artsakh; a wonderful flatbread filled with different types of herbs. It is a little challenging to find all the herbs that grow in the mountainous lands of Artsakh in Yerevan. Luckily we have been able to source the main ingredients and enjoyed mouth-wateringly good zhingyalov hats a few times. Nothing can beat the taste of zhingyalov hats from the food market in Stepanakert. Managing to make the flatbread in Yerevan and sharing it with around 40 friends comes very close. 

The men have now taken up the challenge of cooking. They have promised to soon prepare khash which is a traditional Armenian thick broth with cow hooves. Men stay up and cook it all night long to enjoy it for breakfast with liberal amounts of garlic and vodka. Soon we will sharing not only a roof but also a hoof 🙂

None of this would have been possible if not for the support of our thousands of friends who have donated funds to Envoy. We appreciate your generosity more than our words can express.