In 2016, Artsakh suffered unprecedented violence as Azerbaijan launched unprovoked assaults alongits eastern border. This escalation has been known as the “April War” or “Four-Day War.”
As Armenians responded worldwide, the Foundation launched a crowdfunding campaign to help those directly affected, and to restore damaged, war-torn areas. Within a month, we raised over $75,000, which we allocated to three subprojects: a) emergency medical assistance, b) house renovation for those affected, and c) promotion of balanced media response. Below we present the house renovation efforts:
At first, we sought to rebuild and repair various buildings damaged by the war. However, upon seeing the large number of people injured during this last escalation, we decided to focus on the houses of wounded soldiers. Many of the injured soldiers do not have homes, and if they do, their homes are in desperate need of repair. Due to their war-related injuries, most of these soldiers will not be able to work, nor repair or purchase their homes.
Needs assessment and subsequent action
At first, we sought to rebuild and repair various buildings damaged by the war. However, upon seeing the large number of people injured, we decided to focus on the houses of wounded soldiers. Many of these injured soldiers do not have homes, and if they do, their homes are in desperate need of repair. Due to their war-related injuries, most of these soldiers will not be able to work, nor repair or purchase their homes.
After consulting with the NKR Defense Ministry, we confirmed this approach and set down to work. Within weeks, we visited the homes of numerous injured soldiers and interviewed them to determine the extent of their injuries and the cost of either repairing their homes or buying them new ones.
We began with the home of Vachakan Vardazaryan, an injured Special Forces Officer, who worked as an instructor of Martial Arts before his injury. We selected his case first because his two sons were away, both serving in the army. We started to work on his house in July 2016 and completed the construction in November.
Varujan Sahakyan and his family, inside their newly reconstructed house.
Next, we renovated the house of Varujan Sahakyan – another April War hero. Varujanis 43 years old and before his injuries served in the special forces. He was badly wounded in theMartuni region. Varujan is married with three children. Their house was in very bad shape, despite Varujan’s efforts to renovate it before the war. And now, with Varujan’s new health problems and financial difficulties, the family had completely given up hope. We were surprised and delighted to learn that Varujan’s life had been saved by Vachakan Vardazaryan, our other beneficiary (above).
House renovation is only a part of what we do: We also help those who don’t own a roof to live under. Recently, we purchased a large house in Martakert city for two brothers, Eduard and Erik Matevosyan, who were both injured in the April War.
The Foundation also purchased a single-story house in Martakert for contract officer Erik Babayan. Erik used to rent a house in Talish village, which was shelled during the April War and has since been evacuated. Initially, the family lived in temporary facilities in Charentsavan (a suburb of Yerevan), but later returned to Martakert to live with relatives. His family prefers to live in Martakert because it is the closest town to Talish.
Wounded officer Erik Babayan, together with NKR Prime Minister’s spokesman ArtakBeglaryan, TF Director Raffi Doudaklian, Erik’s wife and their daughter (from left to right)
Our most recent beneficiary is Samvel Mejlumyan, who fought and was wounded during the Artsakh liberation war in the early nineties. In addition to renovating his house, the Foundation performed adaptations to ensure that it is wheelchair-accessible.
Samvel Mejlumyan inside his renovated house, during the housewarming ceremony.
Although the emergency has ended, the need is ongoing. With many wounded/disabled soldiers requiring similar assistance, we will continue this work indefinitely.