YEREVAN—It’s been over a decade since the Knights and Daughters of Vartan partnered with the Fuller Center for Housing Armenia by donating homes and advocating for the right to a decent shelter, as well as encouraging members of the Knights and Daughters of Vartan to lead or join volunteer teams and help build homes for families in housing need. Since 2015, more than 13 homes have been built or renovated with the help of Knights and Daughters of Vartan.
This year, the generous donation from Knights of Vartan will go to assist the Kocharyan family of ten from Tretuk village of the Gegharkunik region. The family father’s, Sergey’s, parents are refugees who escaped from Azerbaijan in 1989. Sergey with his wife, Anna, and six children, live with Sergey’s parents.
Years ago, Sergey’s wife’s aunt, and later her husband, passed away. Sergey and Anna, who have five children of their own, adopted their four daughters. The Kocharyan’s raised nine children in a small half‐built house in miserable conditions. The walls of the house were earthen and near collapse. In 2017, Sergey started to build stone walls, but he couldn’t afford to continue the construction work.
The Kocharyan’s rely on the income of Raya, who is a librarian, as Sergey has a disability. He receives disability support and a military pension. Sergey’s son, Arthur, has a disability, as well. They also receive a benefit for their children and a pension for their adopted daughter.
“My father escaped in 1989 and started to live in this house. Now, my children grow up here without basic housing conditions. There is no running water inside the building, we carry it from outside. My son, Arthur, has a disability. We sold our livestock to cover his surgery expenses. He has been operated [on] three times. I wish my family could live in decent housing conditions, and my children could grow up in a safe home. We would like to turn this page of our life and hope for a better future,” said Sergey.
՛՛Our partnership with the Knights and Daughters of Vartan has a history of over a decade. And, during these years, the partnership has become even more solid, helping more and more families to feel the happiness of decent housing after many years of living in metal containers (domiks), basements, half-built buildings, or other temporary shelters deprived of basic housing conditions,” said Ashot Yeghiazaryan, Fuller Center for Housing Armenia President.
“The Knights of Vartan are grateful and exited to again be working with the Fuller Center for Housing in Armenia. To be able to give this family the basic necessity of a house to live in goes to the basic tenants of the brotherhood. Having been able to personally visit one of the projects this year gave us firsthand knowledge of this great work. To see the faces of the families and children in their new home was truly a rewarding experience,” said Steven Adams, Grand Commander of Knights of Vartan.
The construction of the family house will be started this year. Next year, the family will enjoy the happiness of living in their first ever decent home.
Members of Knights and Daughters of Vartan have not only been donating for years, but they also lead and join volunteer teams to build homes side-by-side with low income families. From June 28 to July 10, 2020 Past Grant Matron Sona Manuelian will again lead a volunteer team to Armenia. Their work, which Leo and Sona Manuelian have been doing it since 2003, is commendable. Individuals interested in joining this team may do so by reaching out via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Knights of Vartan Inc. is a fraternal leadership and service organization of Armenian men dedicated to safeguarding and perpetuating the Armenian heritage and cultural traditions. Its membership represents the spectrum of the leadership of the Armenian community. It was founded in 1916 in Philadelphia and is based in the United States with 23 local chapters which support Armenian causes around the world. For more information about the Knights of Vartan, visit the website.
Fuller Center for Housing Armenia is a non-governmental, charitable organization that supports community development in the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh by assisting in building and renovating simple, decent and affordable homes, as well as advocating the right to a decent shelter as a matter of conscience and action. FCHA provides long-term, interest-free loans to low-income families. The monthly repayments flow into a Revolving Fund, which is used to help more families, thereby providing a financial foundation for sustainable community development. Up to now the Fuller Center for Housing Armenia has assisted over 800 families. For more information, please visit the FCHA website or email us at email@example.com.