The Armenian Relief Society – Western Region (ARS-WR) Javakhk Fund Committee raised $60,000 in critical humanitarian assistance for the Armenia’s of Javakhk (the mostly Armenian-populated region in southern Georgia). The dinner reception and concert aboard the "M.V. Majestic" on March 12 featured "Zulal," an a cappella folk trio from the East Coast. Western United States Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian–Assistant Consul General of the Republic of Armenia Haroutune Kojayan–ARF Central Committee–and ARS Regional and Chapter Executives were among the 225 individuals who attended the event and toured the harbor on the three floors and decks of the Majestic.
Haigoush Kohler–chair of the Javakhk Fund Committee–welcomed guests and described the dire situation of Javakhk–which lacks basic social services. She highlighted some of the accomplishmen’s of the diasporan Armenian communities–including purchasing and renovating educational institutions and youth centers–donating ambulances and diagnostic equipment for the Akhalkalak hospital–and providing agricultural assistance. She noted that there are many similar projects awaiting support and urged everyone to share their blessings with those less fortunate.
Kohler’s remarks were followed by Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian’s invocation. His Eminence reminded everyone that Almighty God is our provider for everything and urged the attendees to go above and beyond what is neccessary and to do what is right–to stand by the people of Javakhk.
ARS-WR Regional Executive Chair–Angela Savoian thanked the attendees for everything that they do for ARS projects and especially for Javakhk. She noted how the Regional Executive has been on the move in the past couple of weeks–taking its message to San Francisco and Las Vegas–with plans to be in Houston–Fresno–and San Diego in the next few weeks. Savoian urged everyone to respond to the dire needs of the people in Javakhk–to keep them strong–and to show that we care about them. She thanked the Javakhk Fund Committee for a job well done and asked the committee Vice-Chair–Lena Bozoyan–to make a presentation.
Bozoyan gathered the committee members and said that Haigoush Kohler is the driving force behind the committee–keeping them aware of developmen’s in Javakhk on a daily basis. Later–committee members presented a bouquet of flowers to Kohler. Bozoyan presented the next speaker–Jasik Jarahian–a committee member and ARS-WR General Accountant/Auditor–to lead the following fundraising effort.
Jarahian–who has visited Javakhk four times–presented eyewitness accounts of the desperate conditions in Javakhk and urged everyone to do their best to counteract them. She spoke of parents desperately searching for clean drinking water–food–and warm clothes for their children. Her stories about the lack of heating–food shortages–and harassment by authorities were heart-wrenching. As she announced the donations–Jarahian detailed previous accomplishmen’s such as the renovation of schools–health facilities–and the implementation of programs to alleviate poverty. The participants were generous with their donations and helped raise $60,000 for Javakhk.
The highlight of the evening was a performance by "Zulal," an Armenian a cappella folk trio from the East Coast. They sang traditional Armenian folk styles in the a cappella style–relying solely on their voices and the songs’ sentimen’s to captivate their audience. The three young women gave a breath-taking performance and warmed the hearts of the audience.
The ARS Javakhk Fund Committee also has other fundraising projects underway. The committee has distributed piggy banks to Armenian day school students and ARS Saturday school students to help raise funds and awareness among the youth.