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Housing for Wounded Soldiers

18 November 2017

In 2016, Artsakh suffered unprecedented violence as Azerbaijan launched unprovoked assaults along its 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 sub-projects: 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, the homes are in desperate need of repair. Due to their war-related injuries, most of these soldiers are not 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 new ones.

Vachakan Vardazaryan with his family, in front of their newly reconstructed house.

 

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. Varujan is 43 years old and, before his injuries, served in the special forces. He was badly wounded in the Martuni 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.

 

Matevosyan family’s housewarming.

 

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 Artak Beglaryan, TF Director Raffi Doudaklian, Erik’s wife and their daughter (from left to right)
 

Next, we had the honor to support 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 leads guests to his renovated house, during the housewarming ceremony.

 

The 7th soldier to benefit from this initiative was Kamo Davtyan, a soldier wounded in the Artsakh Liberation War in the early 90s, who celebrated housewarming in the Village of Nor Shen, Martuni region in August 2017. Prior to the renovations, Kamo and his family lived in an old village house, which was not only in an overall poor condition, but also had no kitchen or an indoor bathroom. In addition to general repairs, the Foundation has constructed an adjacent building, thus expanding the house and adding a fully renovated kitchen and bathroom, as well as a corridor.

Kamo Davtyan in front of his newly rebuilt house.

 

The last (so far) wounded hero we have been able to support through this initiative is Gagik Petrosyan, a soldier wounded in the aftermath of the Four Day War. Before being wounded, Mr. Petrosyan served in one of the front-line military bases in Artsakh and was heavily wounded during one of the battles following the Four Day War. Now, Mr. Petrosyan, 38 years old, is married and has two daughters. Despite his severe disability, Mr. Petrosyan, a captain by rank, continues serving the Self Defence Forces of Artsakh as an intelligence officer.
 
The 9th home will soon open its doors to the family of Ararat Avanesyan, a soldier wounded in the Artsakh Liberation War in the early 90s. To support this family, we have purchased a house in their native Patara village and are currently renovating it.
 

Mher Araqelyan's family

 

Finally, to give a home to the 10th wounded soldier — Mher Araqelyan — we launched a crowdfunding campaign at the end of 2017. With generous donations from 109 individuals, we have reached our fundraising goal and will soon give a home to this family. You can learn about Mher's story here.

Ongoing Work Past Work