Established in 2004, Arajamugh village is one of the largest projects implemented by the Foundation. This is no accident, as the resettlement and development of Artsakh’s liberated territories is one of our highest priorities.
During 2004-2008, the Foundation constructed 19 houses which were mainly inhabited 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, a community center and mayor’s office. Now, 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 $900,000 to date), a number of generous co-sponsors have helped develop this village. Most recently we welcomed the Artsakh Fund – Eastern US, which partnered with us to renovate the facades of existing houses, then to build six additional homes in 2016. This year, Artsakh Fund will assume primary responsibility for further expansion and development of the village. Future plans include building a clinic, expanding the school and building additional houses.
In designing this village, we foresaw not only construction of houses and infrastructure, but also opportunities for residents to develop livelihoods for themselves. With this in mind, we planted 5 hectares of pomegranate orchards and expanded them to 7 hectares in 2016. Last year was rather difficult for the orchard because of the heavy hailstorms in June, but our staff has managed to save the orchard, and we expect a full harvest this fall.
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 by 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.