There are people who come into this world like a meteor – they live short lives but leave behind shining memories long that remain after they are gone. Sosé Thomassian and Allen Yekikian, a young couple, who had strong ties in Armenia as well as throughout the Diaspora, lost their lives in May 2013 after they had repatriated to Armenia. Soon after their tragic passing, Sosé & Allen’s Legacy Foundation was established to keep their memory alive by working to bridging the gap between Armenia and its Diaspora, through an emphasis on education, repatriation, and volunteerism within the homeland.
For the third year, Sosé & Allen’s Legacy Foundation has teamed up with Fuller Center for Housing Armenia to help construct a home for a family in need in Armenia in memory of Sosé & Allen.
This year, 34 volunteers from the AYF Youth Corps program joined the Gziryan family from the city of Ashtarak in the Aragatsotn region for the special build. The Gziryans are a family of six – the mother of the family, Zoya, her son, Kamo, the daughter-in-law, Zita, and their three children – a daughter and two sons of 13, 12 and 4 years old respectively. Zoya’s husband was killed in 1990 during the Artsakh Liberation war. Ever since her husband’s death it has been very difficult for Zoya to cope with life alone raising her children, without their father. In 2000 Kamo married Zita, whose father was declared missing-in-action in 1992, also during the Artsakh war.
For 8 years the Gziryan family lived in Zoya’s sister’s home, while they were in Russia. After they returned from Russia the Gziryan family moved to live with Zoya’s mother’s classmate. In 2009 the Gziryans purchased land to build a home on, but were unable to due to financial difficulties. With help from the International Committee of the Red Cross and Fuller Center for Housing Armenia, the Gziryan’s will finally have their home in Armenia.
“Sosé & Allen grew up in the United States, but their hearts were always in Armenia, and their dream was to make their home there. Even though they aren’t with us physically, its incredibly powerful to be able to be a part of making that same dream a reality for the Gziryan’s – an incredibly proud and loving family,” said Legacy Foundation Director Vaché Thomassian.
The Gziryan family home is being built through generous financial support from the International Committee of the Red Cross and Fuller Center for Housing Armenia (70% invested by ICRC and 30% by FCHA). ICRC and FCHA partnered since 2010 to assist families of missing veterens. Since 2010 68 families have been assisted. 16 more families will be assisted this year. This year, efforts have expanded to help rehabilitate the homes of mine/ ERW (Explosive Remnants of War) victims.