YEREVAN (Yerkir)-Executive Director of "Hayastan" All Armenia Fund Vahe Ahagegian is calling on all Armenia’s to take active part in Thursday’s Thanksgiving telethon.
Below is the text of the call submitted by the fund’s PR department.
The Armenia Fund’s mission is to unite and coordinate the efforts and resources of Armenia’s throughout the world and direct them to the reconstruction and strengthening of Armenia and Artsakh. During the 15 years of its existence, Armenia Fund has been loyal to the principles of fairness and transparency in its activities and finances, accountability to the public, mutual trust between its donors, beneficiaries and partners.
Armenia Fund’s activities can be divided into the following three stages:
Emergency period of 1992-95 when Armenia was going through harsh times and, along with the challenge of transition to a free market economy, it was vital to overcome a great number of problems associated with the aftermath of the 1988 earthquake, the economic blockade and Artsakh conflict. The landmark initiatives of The Armenia Fund in that period included the Winter Humanitarian Project, Housing and the Yerevan-Meghri highway reconstruction projects all of them called to lessen the pressing social burdens of the time.
It was imperative for Armenia Fund to launch infrastructure development projects in 1995-99. This period was marked with the construction of the Goris-Stepanakert highway connecting Armenia to Artsakh and 160 km long North-South highway from Hadrout to Martakert. Along with road construction projects, the Fund undertook community development initiatives, which included the construction and reconstruction of schools, medical facilities, water and electricity supply systems, cultural centers and various other projects.
In 2005, Armenia Fund embarked on a qualitatively new stage in its activities focusing on economic development initiatives. This period covers projects directed towards improvement of living conditions in rural communities in Armenia and Artsakh including agriculture, water and gas supply, healthcare and education.
To implement its projects of "All-Armenian" significance the Fund has been conducting annual Telethons since 1996. The Armenia Fund Telethon is not a mere fundraising event. It is a major initiative, which draws Armenia’s both in the homeland and overseas around a single goal and objective. The Telethon 2007 will take place on November 22, in Los Angeles.
Now, Armenia Fund has taken on a new challenge. Through the implementation of the Rural Development Program, the Fund aims at developing border villages in Armenia and Artsakh. It has adopted a comprehensive approach in the implementation of projects. Thus the Program will reconstruct and, if necessary, install infrastructure such as roads, drinking and irrigation water, power and natural gas supply, schools and hospitals. Parallel to that, it will define the ways of facilitating economic development and promoting economic activities to ensure better life for people in the border areas. At present, economic and social infrastructure research and preparation works are carried out in the selected six villages in Tavush Marz.
Today, Armenia faces a new challenge: narrowing the wide gap between economic growth rates and living conditions in rural and urban areas–an increasingly pressing issue both for the state and the people.
During the last 15 years there has been an alarming increase in the number of migrating people from Armenia’s border villages. With the continued blockade making things even worse, it is evident that rural development is not merely an issue of economic and social importance, but also paramount for strategic and security reasons. It is vital that we build up our villages; create favorable conditions for people to come back to their homes: the more developed and stable the border areas, the more powerful and secure the whole country.
Although Armenia’s economy grows rapidly, its impact on the border communities is not immediately visible. Left to the natural flow, it will still be a few decades before the villagers enjoy higher living standards. However, in the present geopolitical situation we have no time to waste. Every Armenian should do his best to help deal with the problems in our homeland. Only then can we ensure a consistent development for our country and provide guarantees for living in a prosperous and secure country for the generations to come.
I hope that on Thursday, every Armenian, in Armenia and abroad, will take part in The Armenia Fund Annual Telethon. This is when every Armenian can directly contribute to improving life in his homeland. It is essential that with everyone’s participation, we make this truly an "All-Armenian" effort.