Armenia Fund 2010 Telethon to Rebuild Karabakh’s Water Infrastructure

LOS ANGELES–Armenia Fund officially launched its 13th International Telethon campaign on Friday, October 8, with the unveiling of the Telethon 2010 logo at an annual dinner reception attended by supporters and donors. The live 12 hour telethon program, themed “Water is Life,” is set to air on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, and will raise funds for the development of drinking and irrigation water systems in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

The dinner reception, hosted at the residence of Armenia Fund U.S. Western Region Chairman, Ara Aghishian and his wife Julia, attracted long time donors and supporters of the Fund. The event has become a tradition where the official logo of the telethon is unveiled, kicking off the campaign and rallying the greater Armenian-American community around one mission: to help strengthen Armenia.

This year, Armenia Fund will focus on building the infrastructure to overcome the shortage of water in Karabakh–a serious problem that impacts more than 70,000 people living in 200 villages. An average family spends 40% of its daily life carrying water from a source 2-5 miles away. That this water is not always clean.

“88% of all diseases are related to tainted drinking water,” said Armenia Fund U.S. Western Region Chairman Ara Aghishian. “As we know, water is a serious economic engine and the driving force behind agriculture.”

According to Aghishian, more than 100,000 acres of agricultural land in Karabakh is dry today due to the lack of irrigation water, while people in the villages are unable to grow crops and build incomes. This situation can be reversed, he stressed.

“Our pilot projects in the Tavush region of Armenia have proven that every $1 invested in improved water access yields an average of $12 in economic returns,” Aghishian explained.

Armenia Fund, along with hundreds of thousands of its supporters worldwide, will be raising funds during the 2010 Telethon to provide villages in Karabakh with a round-the-clock supply of clean drinking and irrigation water.

“The cause of Armenia Fund is the development and prosperity of Armenia and Artsakh (Karabakh). It’s a very noble endeavor, which we all believe in and live for,” said philanthropist Albert Boyajian, a member of the International Board of Trustees of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund.

“With your help and the help of your friends, with the help of the people you will engage, we can bring drinking water to the people of Artsakh. By joining forces, together, we can make it happen,” he added.

The community’s support for that mission was underscored during the unveiling event, with the official announcement that Karoun Dairies, Armenia Fund’s major Los Angeles partner, will be contributing $100,000 to help underwrite the cost of producing the 12-hour internationally televised fundraiser. It was also announced that VivaCell MTS, Armenia’s largest mobile phone operator, will once again serve as the telethon’s General Sponsor, covering $400,000 in production costs. Other corporate sponsors announced include, Ameriabank, Ardshininvestbank, ACBA – Credit Agricole Bank, Artsakhbank, and Haypost.

“Water is extremely crucial to the long-term development of Armenia and Artsakh. Without a clean, reliable supply of water, our population is at multiple risks,” said Anto Baghdassarian, CEO of Karoun Dairies. “ It is our moral and national duty to multiply our support and further strengthen our Homeland.”

“Every Armenian should do his or her part in this and I am simply doing mine by partnering with Armenia Fund. I hope that others, here, in Los Angeles, will follow my lead,” he said as he unveiled the official Telethon 2010 logo, designed by Los Angeles based graphic artist Edik Balayan.

“Water is life, indeed, and as you can see in the design, the water turns into the Armenian eternity symbol as it flows out of the helping hands,” said Balayan.

Armenia’s Consul General in Los Angeles, Grigor Hovhanissian, was also at the event. He offered his commendations to Armenia Fund and applauded its ongoing nation-building projects in Armenia and Artsakh.

Armenia Fund, Inc., is a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation established in 1994 to facilitate large-scale humanitarian and infrastructure development assistance to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. Since 1991, Armenia Fund has rendered more than $200 million in development aid to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. Armenia Fund, Inc. is the U.S. Western Region affiliate of “Hayastan” All-Armenian Fund. Tax ID# 95-4485698

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