New Jersey event raises funds, awareness for Kashatagh House Renovation
ENGLEWOOD, NJ – Nearly 30 supporters gathered at the beautiful home of Raffy and Shoghag Hovanessian on Saturday, February 21, where they learned about the Tufenkian Foundation’s new House Renovation Program in the Kashatagh (Lachin) region of Nagorno-Karabagh.
The event featured guest speaker Armen Sargsyan, who serves as a deputy in the NKR Parliament as well as Deputy Director of the Foundation’s Karabagh Program. Mr. Sargsyan explained the strategic significance of Kashatagh, which is the main link between Karabagh and Armenia and thus guarantees Karabagh’s security and viability. He also discussed day-to-day life in Kashatagh, helping attendees to better understand the obstacles facing families that are trying to live in the region—the most impoverished and underdeveloped spot in either Karabagh or Armenia.
Those trying to make a life in the borderland and stabilize the area are forced to live in the bombed-out ruins of the Karabagh war. Young students from the Manana Youth Center—a Yerevan-based NGO that offers classes in creative communication—prepared an engrossing and heart-wrenching DVD depicting a child’s perspective on the stark realities of life in Karabagh.
The common consensus was that without basic assistance, it is nearly impossible for anyone in the district to attain a decent standard of living, no matter how strong their drive to remain on those lands may be. The main issue that keeps families from staying in the district long-term and rebuilding its infrastructure is that there are no places to live, and building new homes amid the rubble of homes destroyed in the war is both demoralizing and expensive.
So, the Tufenkian Foundation launched an initiative late last year to renovate 1600 damaged homes in Kashatagh, providing resettlers an alternative to moving into ruined shells. The event raised approximately $15,000 for the ongoing project.
Tufenkian Foundation President James Tufenkian also addressed the gathering, praising the unsung heroes in Karabagh and the Diaspora who have worked tirelessly to promote Kashatagh’s resettlement. The Foundation is grateful to the Hovanessians for their gracious hospitality, and hopes that others may join this effort in the near future.