Crowdfunding Effort to House a Wounded Artsakh Soldier Gains Traction

Mher Araqelyan and his family
Mher Araqelyan and his family

Mher Araqelyan and his family

In April 2016, the people of Artsakh suffered unprecedented violence, as Azerbaijan launched unprovoked assaults along its eastern border. This escalation has since been known as the “April War.”

Mher Araqelyan, a 35-year-old father of one, was one of the soldiers mobilized to protect Artsakh during this war. He fought and was severely wounded at a front-line base near Mekhakavan, formerly known as Jibrayil. Since then, he has been facing serious health difficulties and is currently without a home.

To support Mher Araqelyan, the Tufenkian Foundation has launched a crowdfunding campaign to purchase a house for the family in its native Karmir Shuka (Կարմիր շուկա), a small village in one of Artsakh’s border regions. With donations from 56 individuals, predominantly Diaspora Armenians, the campaign has just reached thus far raised more than $11,000. Another $10,000 has been pledged to this cause by the Tufenkian Foundation itself.

The initiative to provide housing support to wounded soldiers of Artsakh was launched by the Tufenkian Foundation in April 2016, in response to the Four-Day War. Since then, houses have been built, reconstructed or purchased for families of 8 soldiers, and the construction of the 9th soldier’s house is currently underway.

When selecting beneficiaries, the Tufenkian Foundation gives priority to families in difficult socio-economic conditions. All 8 houses provided to date have been given to wounded soldiers who are unable to work and cannot built, renovate or purchase homes due to battle injuries and health difficulties. Mher Araqelyan is in a similar situation. Because of a deep thigh wound, he is prohibited from doing any physical work, is unable to stand for extended periods and is set to undergo another difficult surgery soon.

As Mher has been unable to work since his injury, the family primarily relies on his disability pension and the support of Mher’s and his wife’s parents. Without a house of their own, the family spends most of their small income on rent.

Mher and his wife will soon become parents for the second time – they are expecting a child. As they prepare to welcome their second child, their only dream is to have a home they can call their own. Join this effort.

The Tufenkian Foundation was launched in 1999 by entrepreneur James Tufenkian with the mission to empower the initiatives of local citizens, support the most vulnerable strata of the society, promote environmental protection and awareness, and advance social justice in Armenia. Since 2003, the Foundation has broadened its scope to Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), where it promotes resettlement and development projects in the vulnerable border zones of the region.

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