At the beginning of June, the children of Arajamugh village in Hadrut region of Artsakh were unimaginably excited. The reason spoke for itself, the opening of a new and modern football field. This kind of facilities are not common in Artsakh, and mainly the kids of Stepanakert and Shushi area have access to multi-branched sports platforms. It was indeed a special day for Arajamugh. However, there is a unique and bittersweet story behind this. The field bears Maral Melkonian-Avetisian’s name: a wonderful person who dedicated herself to the development of Armenia and Artsakh until the last moment of her life.
Ara and Haykuhi Melkonians, Maral’s parents, are the donors of the football pitch, and this was an act of great love towards their daughter, whose biggest dream was making Artsakh a great place for its people. Here we will tell a little more about how Maral’s commitment keeps living until now and how a tragedy can transform into something marvelous, granting joy and smiles to the future generations.
“Our daughter loved Armenia and Artsakh so much. She was even convincing her husband to move to Armenia. Maral was truly connected to this place, thinking about it all the time, even after volunteering for seven years”, - says Mrs. Haykuhi Melkonian.
As Mr. Ara Melkonian tells, the main priority was doing a project in a frontier village, close to the borderline. These territories are of high importance, and the people there should have a high quality of life. Unfortunately, the majority of such villages in both Armenia and Artsakh lack infrastructure and necessary facilities. The decision fell on Arajamugh after some discussions with “Artsakh Fund” Eastern USA representatives, as well as Tufenkian Foundation’s development director, Antranig Kasbarian.
The main fears the Melkonians had regarding the location were the escalation of military conflict and the border tensions. However, the whole scene changed after they saw the people of Arajamugh unexpectedly gathered near the field to greet the donors and thank them. They are very impressed with what they saw in Arajamugh, and they could not imagine that this gift can change so many lives and have a strategic impact on the further development of the community. The idea of building a similar place was born years ago; however, after the family tragedy, when Maral passed away, they decided to make a significant step towards the fulfillment of her dream. And this is not the end as the family plans to build a separate restroom and a locker room for the field. Also, they plan to add a lighting system and trees around the pitch, making it more beautiful and comfortable for the children. It will inevitably perpetuate the memory of Maral, and every child walking into this field will remember the great Armenian who was dedicated to her motherland. Mr. Ara and Mrs. Haykuhi will continue their philanthropist activities in Artsakh’s Arajamugh village, and they are sure that Maral would have done the same. This way, a tragedy can transform into a new beginning and Maral, even after passing away, still keeps the warmth of her love upon the usual people of Armenia and Artsakh.
Arajamugh, a village created by Tufenkian foundation in 2004, is still welcoming resettlers and new families. After the establishment and construction of vital infrastructures Tufenkian Foundation has passed the expansion plan of the village to “Artsakh Fund”. Tufenkian Foundation still works for the development and resettlement of the liberated regions of Artsakh Republic.
*Cover image copyright — ArtsakhPress
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