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A Double Celebration in Artsakh: A New Home and A Renovated Clinic Open Doors in Kashatagh

25 December 2017

Today was a day of double celebration for Ishkhanadzor, one of the villages in liberated Kashatagh, as a new home and a newly renovated health clinic opened their doors. Both the construction of the house and the renovation of the clinic were carried out in the framework of our mission to rebuild, resettle and revive the liberated borderlands of Artsakh.

The house was built for  a Lebanese-Armenian family - Vahe Askaryan and his 4 children - who relocated to Artsakh 2 years ago and settled in Ishkhanadzor, where 20 families of re-settlers from Syria and Lebanon currently live. To support the family as they start a new life in Kashatagh, we provided them with a new to home by turning some of the war-torn ruins of Ishkhanadzor into a large and safe house.

Vahe Askaryan cuts the ribbon at the housewarming ceremony.

 

By building this house for Vahe's family, we not only support their resettlement in Artsakh, but also make a step towards ending the housing crisis in Kashatagh. This liberated region is the vital land-bridge connecting Artsakh to Armenia, making them effectively one. After 70 years of Azerbaijani rule, the historic Armenian province was liberated during the Karabagh war and is now being actively resettled. However, while Kashatagh offers new life, the region suffered immensely from the war and has been facing a housing and infrastructure crisis ever since.
 

The ruins that were transformed into a house for Vahe's family.
 

The house during construction.
 
To address this need, we began a pilot project in 2008 to renovate existing houses in the villages of Kashatagh. During 2008-2010, more than 40 renovation works were performed by dedicated work brigades. Since 2010, we have continued with house renovation, focusing on special needs - housing support to Armenian families from Syria and Lebanon resettling in Kashatagh.
 
Vahe Askaryan is the second re-settler from the Middle East to receive a home from the Tufenkian Foundation during 2017. In early June, the family of Haig Khatcho, a Syrian-Armenian doctor who escaped ISIS persecution and resettled in Artsakh a couple of years ago, celebrated housewarming in the same village.
 
Addressing the guests at the ceremony, Vahe Askaryan said:
"Relocating to Artsakh, this ancestral home of all Armenians, is the best decision I could make for my family. I am happy to experience such generous support by my compatriots and promise to dedicate all my abilities for the prosperity of Artsakh".

Vahe's family and guests in front of the fully built house.

 

Vahe is a skilled farmer with experience in greenhouse cultivation. To support the family while they start a new life in Artsakh, the Tufenkian Foundation has provided Vahe with a greenhouse. Upon effective utilization, the greenhouse can not only ensure the subsistence of Vahe's family, but also create employment opportunities for others in Iskhanadzor.

In parallel to building a house for Vahe and his family, we have renovated the primary clinic of Iskhanadzor. After months of renovation works, the clinic reopened its doors today.

Cutting the ribbon at the reopening event.

 

The clinic was built by the Tufenkian Foundation in 2006 and is the only healthcare provider serving a cluster of 16 remote villages in Kashatagh. More than a decade into operations, the clinic was in need of urgent renovations if it was to continue its services.

The Clinic before renovations.

 

The Clinic during renovations.
 

Realizing the importance of this facility for Ishkhanadzor and all of Southern Kashatagh, we took up the renovation of the clinic in early September. Improvements were made to the walls, flooring, windows and the external façade of the building, thus ensuring the maintenance of the clinic well into the future. As with all construction efforts carried out by the Tufenkian Foundation, the renovation works were entrusted to local workers from Kashatagh.

The Clinic after renovations.

 

The clinic currently employs 5 healthcare professionals serving more than 500 patients every year. Medical care provided by this clinic is essential for the people of Kashatagh, where accessible medical services are scarce due to poor roads and transportation. Until recently, village-based facilities were practically nonexistent, and medical emergencies such as snakebites, sudden illnesses, and even childbirths often resulted in casualties.

The medical staff of the clinic.
 
Building, equipping and later renovating the Iskhanadzor clinic is just one of our initiatives aimed to improve healthcare in Kashatagh. Since 2005, we have built and equipped other, smaller clinics – notably those in Msheni and Aghavnatun – found in remote areas. Additionally, we operated a Mobile Clinic throughout 2008-2010. This supplementary service provided medical care to 2,000 people, including 597 children during its operations.
 
To further improve the healthcare situation in Artsakh's liberated borderlands, we are planning to build a medical clinic in Moshatagh, a village in Northern Kashatagh that currently has no healthcare facilities.

 

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