Kashatagh (formerly Lachin) is the vital landbridge connecting Karabagh to Armenia; it thus guarantees Karabagh’s existence, while bolstering the security of Armenia as well. NKR President Bako Sahakian recently declared: “Karabagh exists as long as Kashatagh exists. ”
After 70 years of Azerbaijani rule, this historic Armenian province was liberated during the Karabagh war and is not being actively resettled. If Kashatagh becomes well-settled and developed, Armenia and Karabagh will gain immeasurably.
But while Kashatagh needs new life, the region has almost no livable housing. Many houses were badly damaged during the Karabagh war. Unfortunately, many resettlers still live in these bombed-out ruins – entire families in 1 or 2 rooms – coping amidst makeshift roofs, earthen floors, and leaky walls and ceilings.
These living conditions are deplorable, and have taken a toll on the population. Many children in the region resent their conditions and blame their parents for choosing to live there. Newly married couples stay away, not wanting to start families in open rubble. The result is that Karabagh’s most vital district is bleeding residents: Of the 24,000 resettlers who have come and gone since the war, only 8,000 remain. The number-one reason they cite is lack of housing.
To address this problem, the Foundation began a pilot project in 2008 that has renovated existing houses, turning them from ruins into houses worthy of dignified living. We now seek to expand this program, ultimately covering all 1300 houses needing renovation throughout the region.
This means furnishing war-ravaged homes with:
Renovation works are conducted by dedicated work brigades. Residents of each home also participate, keeping costs down and engendering a sense of ownership over the project.
The Armenian community of Sydney, Australia, the California-based Friends of Armenia, and many individual donors have joined the effort to bring a decent standard of living to Karabagh’s most strategic region. To join this effort and to learn more please contact Raffi Doudaklian at firstname.lastname@example.org.