A Border Village in Artsakh Celebrates School Expansion

– Arajamugh, a border village in Artsakh built by the Tufenkian Foundation, celebrated the reopening of the village school after expansion. Tufenkian Foundation Executive Director Raffi Doudaklian and trustee Antranig Kasbarian, together with a group of Diaspora-Armenian guests and representatives of the Hadrut Regional Administration, attended the event.

The Arajamugh village was established by the Tufenkian Foundation in 2004 and is the largest initiative aimed towards the development and resettlement of liberated territories implemented by the Foundation. In addition to building homes for resettlers, the Foundation, together with partner organizations, has built the village school, community center and mayor’s office, as well as provided water, power lines, sewage disposal, livestock barns, and gravel roads. To contribute to the economic development and sustainability of the village, the Foundation has also planted a pomegranate orchard in Arajamugh. Since 2016, Artsakh Fund-Eastern USA has assumed primary responsibility for further expansion and development of the village: future plans include building a clinic and building additional houses.

Today, more than 110 resettlers live in Arajamugh. At the end of the last academic year, as a result of consistent efforts to develop and expand the village, the community of Arajamugh had grown so much that the village school no longer had the capacity to house all school-age children.

The expansion of the school was launched this summer. 4 new classrooms were added to the school and general renovations were carried out. Due to added the capacity, 85 children will be attending the school this year (10 are first-year students), with the number expected to rise every year.

The event commenced with opening remarks by Tufenkian Foundation Executive Director Raffi Doudaklian and Raffi Killian of the Artsakh-Fund Eastern USA, who congratulated the village community and wished a bright future to the children of Arajamugh.

This was followed by the launch of the Second Annual Human Rights Essay Contest in Artsakh based on the Legacy of Zabel Yessayan. The contest will give a chance to high school students (9-12 grades) of Artsakh to compete for prizes by writing short essays based on the human rights discourse in Yessayan’s The Gardens of Silihdar. The contest was announced by The Artsakh Human Rights Ombudsman, Ruben Melikyan, and Judith Saryan, the liason from the United States. Zabel Yessayan’s grandson Alexandr Yessayan was also present at the event.

For Arajamugh, the school is not just a place for the children to learn. It is also a community center and a major employer (25 teachers from Arajamugh and the neighboring villages currently work in the school).

Eighth Wounded Soldier Receives a House in Artsakh from the Tufenkian Foundation

Today, Gagik Petrosyan, a soldier wounded in the aftermath of the Four Day War of April 2016, celebrated housewarming in Stepanakert, the capital city of Artsakh. The house was renovated by the Tufenkian Foundation, in the framework of the Housing for Wounded Soldiers initiative. Tufenkian Foundation Executive Director Mr. Raffi Doudaklian and Board Members Antranig Kasbarian and Andre Gumuchdjian, Italian-Armenian writer Antonia Arslan, together with a group of Diaspora Armenians, as well as representatives of local media attended the housewarming.

Since 2003, the Tufenkian Foundation has implemented a number of projects and initiatives in support of Artsakh. In April 2016, in response to the Four Day War, the Foundation launched an urgent appeal to help the people affected by the war. Since then, with funds raised during this emergency appeals and through additional support from individual donors, the Foundation provided housing support to seven soldiers: three soldiers in Martakert, one in Askeran and one in Martuni.

While the initiative was launched with the aim of supporting soldiers injured in the Four Day War, it was later expanded to include soldiers with housing needs who have been injured in battle and are not able to able to repair their homes or purchase new ones. So far, houses have been renovated for two soldiers who fought and were wounded in the 90’s liberation war.

Gagik Petrosyan is the seventh soldier to receive a fully renovated house from the Tufenkian Foundation. Before being wounded, Mr. Petrosyan served in one of the frontline 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. Before the house was renovated, for more than 10 years, the family lived in very poor housing conditions that were disadvantageous for the health and well-being of their children. While Mr. Petrosyan tried to carry out some renovation works, his disability prevented him from completing the improvements.

In his remarks during the housewarming ceremony, Tufenkian Foundation Executive Director Raffi Doudaklian said “These soldiers leave everything behind to serve our country and protect our borderlands. The least we can do is make sure that they have decent housing”.

As a result of the reconstruction works carried out by the Tufenkian Foundation during the past couple of months, the house is now fully renovated: in addition to general improvements, the roof has been repaired, windows and doors installed and new flooring has been constructed.

Although the 2016 emergency has ended, the housing need for Artsakh’s soldiers is ongoing. With many wounded/disabled soldiers requiring similar assistance, the Foundation will continue this work indefinitely.

President Serzh Sargsyan Attends Opening Of Vardenis-Martakert Highway

Accompanied by Artsakh Republic President Bako Sahakyan, President Serzh Sargsyan, who is on a working visit in Artsakh Republic, attended today the opening of Vardenis-Martakert highway. The road was built with donations made by all Armenians, including the funds raised by Hayastan All-Armenian Fund during the 2013 and 2014 telethons and with the support of the governments of Armenia and Artsakh.

Accompanied by Pargev Srbazan, the Primate of the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Presidents Serzh Sargsyan and Bako Sahakyan visited Dadivank to get acquainted with the reconstruction work underway in the monastic complex and lit a candle at the Holy Virgin Church of Dadivank.

The Presidents of the two Armenian States also visited the newly opened wine factory in Askeran region of the Republic of Artsakh.

President Serzh Sargsyan on September 2 in Stepanakert will take part in the celebrations on the occasion of the 26th anniversary of the Independence of Artsakh Republic.

Karen Karapetyan, Microsoft delegation discuss Armenia’s digital agenda-related issues

Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan received a delegation from Microsoft Corporation headed by CIS Regional Office Director Ronald Binkofsky. The meeting discussed possibilities for cooperation between the Government of Armenia and Microsoft in formulating Armenia’s digital agenda.

Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan said that Government’s digital agenda features development of a digital strategy for central and local self-government authorities, sharp increase in the number of electronic services, development of an integrated public administration system, etc. The Premier advised that the Digital Armenia Fund was established to that effect, and the Government is prepared to cooperate with Microsoft Corporation in the aforementioned areas.

In turn, Ronald Binkofsky assured of Microsoft’s willingness to help Armenia implement these programs, adding that effective talks to this end had been held with the representatives of different government departments. He noted that Microsoft boasts long experience in these area and has the needed capacity to help materialize Armenia’s digital agenda.

The meeting also discussed a number of other issues related to bilateral cooperation.