Many people in Armenia live in living conditions which are hard to imagine in Germany. Even many of those who have work have to live in houses and apartments which are so dilapidated that it rains through the ceiling, which have no proper windows, or where the supply lines are a constant danger because they are open. Cold, mold, but also insects and rats are constant roommates of the poor. It happens that parents take turns on the night watch to prevent the rats from biting their children. Unhealthy living conditions combined with inadequate nutrition and clothing allow illnesses to flourish which often become chronic, as visits to the doctor and medication are unaffordable for those affected.
Diaconia Charitable Fund wanted to help at least some of these many families. The Village of Hope was planned and approved by the Armenian government in 2001. Construction work began in the spring of 2002 on the outskirts of Yerevan, which meant work and bread for a number of construction workers and craftsmen. In 2003 the first 20 families in need were able to move into solid and dry houses. The demand was great, so the families were selected in a complex process by a commission made up of DCF employees, representatives of the mayor, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the committee for humanitarian issues. In view of the dire need of so many families, the decision was extremely difficult for those responsible.
Today there are 81 houses in the Village of Hope. The residents are families which can consist of several generations. There is also a doctor’s and a dentist’s office, which are also open to sponsored children. The vocational training centre and the central administration of DCF are also located in the village. The administration includes a hall in which relief goods are stored, including the food that the sponsored children are regularly supplied with. A bus connects the Village of Hope with the city to make it easier for children in particular to get to school.
Thanks to your help we were able to free the following families from their desolate living conditions:
The Hakob Dallakyan Family – Hakob moved from the village of Ajgedzor to the capital Yerevan in 1974. After his marriage he rented a flat with his wife Anush. When the four children were born, the family had to leave the apartment because they had accumulated rental debts. In 2006, the family moved to an abandoned corrugated iron shack that was next to a cemetery. The living conditions here were miserable. Despite the difficulties, Anush gave birth to their fifth child in 2010.
In 2013 the family was given a five-room apartment in the Village of Hope. The keys were handed over on September 20th. The celebration was extremely moving. The joy and gratitude of the family could be felt first hand.
The Chatchatryan Family – Rasmik Chatchatryan and his wife Svetlana are retired. Their fate is difficult. Their two sons died young. After losing his children, Rasmik sold the apartment in 1992 due to debts. The family then moved into a rented apartment. The daughter Meline lived with her husband and their two underage sons with her parents. The daughter-in-law had gone to Russia at that time, and Svetlana was looking after the granddaughter.
In 2008 the long-suffering family was given a four-room apartment in the Village of Hope. Meline now works in a kindergarten, her husband runs a small business. Rasmik’s granddaughter graduated from a foreign language college. For a long time she couldn’t find a job, currently she works as a saleswoman in a clothing store.
The Martirosyan Family – Boris has four children. The family never had a house of their own. They were on the waiting list to get an apartment from the state. Boris is a musician. He once worked as a conductor of a military orchestra, tuning and repairing pianos. But he couldn’t save enough money with his earnings to buy an apartment. One daughter is divorced and lived with her parents with her child. She had serious heart problems and had surgery. The son is a singer.
In 2008 the family was given a four-room apartment with a small piece of land.
The Samvel Dallakyan Family – Samvel spent his childhood and youth in a mountain village. After their marriage, the couple moved to the capital Yerevan because of the illness of their daughter Hasmik. Hasmik suffered from asthma and the climatic conditions in the mountains were difficult for her to endure. She always had seizures. Samvel lived with his wife and two children in a rented apartment, about 15 square meters, for almost 21 years. The children grew up. The son Vardan graduated from college with good grades and got a job in the Ministry of the Interior. He got married and the couple had two children.
Vardan had all the prerequisites and opportunities to improve the living conditions of his family with his work and to ensure a carefree old age for his parents. But a tragic accident ended the 28-year-old’s life: on a short vacation at the world-famous Armenian Lake Sevan, a horizontal bar fell on his chest while doing gymnastics. He succumbed to internal bleeding. For Samvel and his wife, the death of their son was a devastating blow. They didn’t want to live anymore. Only the care for their children and grandchildren kept them going.
In 2006 the family was given a four-room apartment. It was a miracle for the family. Today they all live in a bright, friendly house with a small garden.
The Hakobyan Family – After the death of his wife Hasmik, Stepan Hakobyan had to look after his two underage sons and his elderly parents on his own.
Stepan’s wife had Huntington’s disease – a progressive nerve disease that led to her death in 2003. The complex treatment and expensive medication could not prevent the worst. To cover treatment costs, the family had to sell their apartment. They lost all possessions. The search for a secure income drove them to the village of Maralik.
The money was only enough to rent a dilapidated hut, where humidity and cold dominated everyday life. Stepan worked as a porter, but his earnings weren’t even enough to pay for groceries. Owning a house was a dream that seemed impossible.
The family was given a two-room apartment in the Village of Hope in 2006. Moving into the new house, and thus also into a new life, was a day of boundless joy. Dry, clean and bright – that’s more than the family could ever imagine. In the “Village of Hope” Stepan found strength and confidence again. His sons are already adults. The son Gor is a contract soldier and serves in an air division. He is married, his son Stepan was born in 2012. The child bears his grandfather’s name. Stepan’s second son Narek works as a driver in a detergent factory.