Kashatagh (formerly Lachin) is the vital landbridge connecting Karabakh to Armenia. It thus guarantees Karabakh ’s existence, while bolstering the security of Armenia as well. NKR President Bako Sahakian recently declared: “Karabakh exists as long as Kashatagh exists.”
After 70 years of Azerbaijani rule, this historic Armenian province was liberated during the Karabakh war and is now being actively resettled. As Kashatagh continues to develop, Armenia and Karabakh will gain immeasurably.
But while Kashatagh offers new life, the region has suffered from a housing crisis. During the war, many houses were badly damaged: Unfortunately, many resettlers continue to live in these bombed-out ruins – entire families in 1 or 2 rooms – coping amidst makeshift roofs, earthen floors, and leaky walls and ceilings.
Such 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 have often stayed away, not wanting to start families in open rubble. The result is that Karabakh ’s most vital district remains unstable demographically: as resettlers continue to come and go, their number-one dissatisfaction is the lack of decent housing.
Addressing the problem
To address this problem, the Foundation began a pilot project in 2008 to renovate existing houses, turning them from ruins into houses worthy of dignified living. This meant furnishing war-ravaged homes with:
During 2008-2010, more than 40 renovation works were performed by dedicated work brigades, under TF’s supervision. Residents of each home also participated, keeping costs down and engendering a sense of local ownership over the project.
As news of these developments began to spread, Kashatagh’s authorities quickly embraced house renovation as an ongoing, government-funded activity. In doing so, they have used our activity model as a base, gradually developing and adapting it. Their goal is to cover ultimately all 1300 houses requiringrenovation in the region.
These early efforts were co-funded by several diasporan groups, including the Armenian community of Australia, the California-based Friends of Armenia, as well as many individual donors.
More recent efforts
Since 2010, TF has continued with house renovation, but focusing more on special needs: We continue to renovate houses in Kashatagh, mainly for Syrian-Armenian refugees who resettle there. We also work in other regions of Artsakh, providing housing for soldiers wounded during the recent Four-Day War.
Most recently, in early June 2017, we completed the construction of a house for the family of Haig Khatcho, a Syrian-Armenian doctor who escaped ISIS persecution and resettled in Artsakh a couple of years ago. After relocating to Kashatagh’s Ishkhanadzor village, together with his three daughters, Dr. Khatcho started working at the only clinic of the village, which was established by the Foundation in 2004-2005.
Haig Khatcho (second on the right) with family and guests in front of his new house
Please help us as we continue to bring decent living standards to Karabakh’s most strategic region. To join this effort and to learn more, please contact Raffi Doudaklian at email@example.com.