Last month, we made another step towards our dream of a fully resettled Artsakh. We gave homes to three young families – families from different parts of the world, with different life stories, but one common dream: to tie their future to Artsakh.
The first home opening took place on September 24, for the family of Syrian-Armenian Sezar Tatleyan in Berdzor, the administrative center of the Kashatagh region. The young man had left Damascus for Armenia in 2003. After several years of struggling to find employment, he decided to move to Artsakh and start a new life here. Now, he is married and has a little daughter. For years, the family didn’t have a home of his own and had to rent a place in Shushi. When Sezar approached the Tufenkian Foundation for housing support, we advised him to move to the liberated territories, where our housing projects are focused. And so, Sezar’s family became a part of Kashatagh’s life.
The other two housewarming ceremonies took place on September 27. First, in the Getamej village of Southern Kashatagh, Syrian-Armenian Artin Almajyan’s young family moved into their new home. 33- year-old Artin, an electrician by trade, was born and grew up in Syria. After having to fight in the Syrian War for nearly 5 years, he moved to Artsakh and settled in the Getamej village. Soon, he married a local woman. Now, Artin is a father to a little boy, Mher, and a newborn daughter, Varduhi. Before moving into their new home, Artin’s family Artin’s lived in a poorly built house with no kitchen, bathroom, running water, flooring or ceiling. Now, they will live in a large and bright house built by the Tufenkian Foundation.
Finally, Papag Stepanyan’s family of five celebrated housewarming in Van, one of the southernmost villages of Kashatagh. Papag moved to Artsakh about 20 years ago, together with his brother and parents. Now, both Papag and his brother have families of their own, and they have well settled into village life in Artsakh. Papag works in a persimmon orchard planted (2400 trees, 5 hectares) by the Tufenkian Foundation in the Van village earlier this year.
When the family first arrived to Artsakh, the Kashatagh administration provided them with an old, almost-ruined building to live in. Over the years, the family worked to improve the house, but it was in too poor a condition to be turned into a real home. To help the family, we have fully rebuilt their home, repairing and renovating all its rooms, building a bathroom and a kitchen, providing them with running water.
Talking about the importance of building homes for Artsakh and resettling the liberated territories, Tufenkian Foundation Executive Director Raffi Doudaklian said:
“These are our lands. In the early 90s, our heroes gave their lives to liberated these territories, and now, our soldiers risk their lives every day to protect this homeland of ours. It is our collective responsibility to make sure that Kashatagh not just survives, but thrives and blossoms. That’s why we have been rebuilding these borderlands for the past 15 years, and we will continue to do so”.
The 3 home openings coincided with the celebrations of our 15th anniversary of working in Artsakh. Launched in 1998, the Tufenkian Foundation expanded its scope to Artsakh in 1993. Since then, we have focused on resettling, rebuilding and developing the liberated regions of Artsakh through construction and renovation of houses, schools and clinics, installing or restoring water supply and irrigation systems, planting orchards and cultivating lands, giving housing support to current residents, new-resettlers, Syrian-Armenian and Lebanese-Armenian refugees and wounded soldiers, as well as ensuring balanced response to the Artsakh situation in international media.
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