Established in 2004, Arajamugh village is one of the largest projects realized by the Foundation. This is no accident, as the resettlement/development of Artsakh’s liberated territories forms one of our highest priorities.
During the period 2004-2008 the Tufenkian Foundation constructed 19 houses which were inhabited mainly by young families from nearby areas, families that fled from Azerbaijan during the war, as well as current and retired officers from the nearby NKR military base. After building these houses, the Foundation and its partners built supplementary facilities, including a school, and a community center and mayor’s office. Arajamugh features newly built houses with modern amenities. Alongside these homes, the Foundation has provided water, power lines, and gravel roads.
In addition to the Foundation’s own support and contributions (totaling more than $800,000 to date), a number of generous co-sponsors had helped develop this village. These included the US-based Armenian Educational Foundation, The Armenian Children’s Relief Fund, Dr. Alber Karamanoukian, Alex & Talar Sarafian, plus other sponsors.
In designing this village, the Foundation foresaw not only construction of houses and infrastructure, but also opportunities for residents to develop livelihoods for themselves. Having in mind this goal, the Foundation planted 5 hectares of pomegranate orchards, which was expanded with 2 more hectares in 2016. Last year was rather difficult for the orchard cultivation because of heavy hailstorm in June, but fortunately the Foundation’s staff managed to save the orchard.
The Foundation continues to stand for and support the village. In 2015 we handled the renovation of facades for all houses, the village school and the mayor’s office. At the same time, we are excited about a new phase of construction, made possible through collaboration with Artsakh Fund – Eastern US. Last year we started to work together to build six more houses in this village, with Artsakh Fund gradually assuming responsibility for the village’s future growth and prosperity. The construction works were foreseen to complete in fall 2016, but April 4-day war made changes in the schedule of works. For now we plan to finish the project by the end of winter, 2017. We also foresee to start the construction works for the clinic and expand the Arajamugh school with four more classrooms, because the current classrooms are already not sufficient for annually raising number of pupils .
In our efforts to help resettle these liberated territories, the Foundation clearly does more than build houses. Rather, we use an integrated approach, engaging resettlers not as inert recipients but as active, creative participants in developing their surroundings. Wherever possible, our intention is to help people help themselves, for example enlisting the support of villagers in the upkeep and renovation of their houses. We believe we have taken small but important strides in this direction, planting the seeds for further development.