Several hours drive north of Yerevan is the city of Vanadzor. It is the third largest city in Armenia.
Lusine Grigoryan and Artur Setrakyan, live with their 4 children Frunzik (9 years), Mariam (7 years), Marine (4 years) and Marieta ( 3 years) in a small one-roomed house in the outskirts of Vanadzor and like many people in the area, are living in very difficult conditions.
Unfortunately the house was originally built to poor standards, and over the years has deteriorated so badly that the roof has begun to leak. The water that drains off from the roof creates pools of water close to the walls which results in a very damp atmosphere for the family to live in. This is now in danger of undermining the structure of the building as well as the health the whole family.
Although Artur has work, the income from this is minimal and barely covers their basic living expenses. The opportunity to spend money on the house and make it habitable, and a more healthy environment for him, his wife and their children simply does not exist. For a family of six people the living area is very cramped and particularly uncomfortable when it is cold and wet outside.
In the middle of 2012 the plight of this family became known to Anzhelika Ghulyan, the Vice President of the Artsakh Youth Development Center (AYDC) NGO. The AYDC runs a variety of projects, among which, a special place is given to charity and activities aimed at strengthening the Artsakh-Armenia-Diaspora ties.
It was evident from her initial visit to the house that for a modest amount of money some significant improvements could be made which would give much better protection to the family against inclement weather.
I knew Anzhelika from my times in Artsakh, and so it was a good opportunity to collaborate and try and put in place work to improve the situation in this house. Unfortunately due to me being in the UK I was only able to provide some of the financial support with Anzhelika doing the on-site visit, arranging the labour to do the building work, and also providing financial support.
The most important changes that needed to be made, externally, were to tidy up the roofing and secure the leak, and replace the guttering so the water drained properly from the roof. Additionally it was necessary to remove the rocks from around the base of the wall and replace with a more robust form of protection.
Internally, much of the plaster work had fallen off and was exposing the bare wall. This needed to be replaced and many of the gaps filled in. Apart from improving the weather proofing of the walls it also started to brighten up the inside and gave the place a better feeling.
When the plaster has fully dried out then the walls will be painted and it will transform the living space in a way which the family could never have imagined.
Whilst this is a fairly modest project, the impact on Lusine and Artur, and the 4 children, has been significant and it is our intention to try and help more people who are overlooked by the local authorities or the main support organisations in Armenia.
Categories: Being Armenian