Armenia Fund Revitalizes One of Shoushi’s Oldest Villages

Construction in Shoushi is part of Armenia Fund's projects

Among the many rural communities in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Artsakh) facing the possibility of depopulation is the village of Mets Shen, which is the oldest settlement in the Shoushi Region. It has a population of 119, most of whom are seniors.

The village economy is small and consists primarily of bee-keeping, agriculture, and cattle-breeding. Over the years, the community has seen serious declines in these key sectors, largely because the next generation is leaving at alarming rates.

Like many others in rural Armenia, the youth of Mets Shen have been leaving in search of opportunity and something more than what their hometowns are able to offer.

For years, Mets Shen has lacked the necessary funding to build public institutions to support civic life and community development. The mayor’s office is in the town’s dilapidated telephone station, its health clinic is in a run-down hospital, and the library is nothing more than a room in the community’s aging school. Mets Shen doesn’t even have a public hall to host gatherings or community events.

The village mayor, Mikayel Ossipyan, sees these issues as the principal reasons behind the community’s population problems. “Few young people remain in the village while the problems we face as a community persist,” Ossipyan explains.

But thats all about to start changing soon. Armenia Fund is nearing completion on the construction of a community center for Mets Shen.

The project is being sponsored by Armenia Fund Lebanon and individual donors in Armenia and Artsakh. Once complete, the two-story, 195 square-meter building, will house the mayor’s office, a medical clinic, library, and community hall. The facility will also include training centers for vocational skills and handicrafts.

The center represents a new beginning for the village, according to Mayor Ossipyan, who explains how the project is kick starting other major efforts to rebuild this community. “The community center will revitalize the village and I’m hopeful that our youth will stay  put,” he says. “We’re also working hard to address the potable-water issue, all in a concerted effort to prevent our village from being depopulated.”

Armenia Fund believes that community centers are crucial to the social and economic development of rural regions in Armenia and Artsakh. They help provide public services, foster a more dynamic civic life, and ultimately give residents with one more compelling reason to continue living and working in their hometowns.

As such, Armenia Fund deeply believes that the preservation and revitalization of any community depends not only on its schools, hospitals and access to resources, but also on the health of its civil society.

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4 Comments

  1. The Truth said:

    I was in September in Shushi the authorities in Arstakh should make plan to put some ‎comminutes together. I would say instead of rebuilding some damage building in Stepankert ‎people should move to Shushi. I would say it was wrong to not move the capital form ‎Stepankert to Shushi! And not every single village should be rebuild …the impotent thing is ‎to get ride of the damaged buildings which are cause of “sadness” for everybody (this means ‎to destroy them completely and plan trees instead- ) ‎

  2. Sam said:

    What I am reading here sounds like a cave life what a shame. we r in the 21st century and we still have people who r living this kind of a live not any different from African tribes some will wonder when people talk about the soviet era how good their life was and they had everything

  3. Avedis boghossian said:

    It’s good to revitalize any village in Armenia or /and Artsakh ,but olso we have to bear in mind that the move from the village towards the big cities is a global attitude,in search of job opportunities ,so it means we have to concentrate equally on creating job opportunities in the nearest cities ,so that the village will not be depopulated ,people will not hesitate to attend their jobs and be back to their homes just like it is the case between any metropolitan city and the towns near to it.

  4. Avedis boghossian said:

    Avedis boghossian says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    November 17, 2011 at 4:15 amIt’s good to revitalize any village in Armenia or /and Artsakh ,but olso we have to bear in mind that the move from the village towards the big cities is a global attitude,in search of job opportunities ,so it means we have to concentrate equally on creating job opportunities in the nearest cities ,so that the village will not be depopulated ,people will not hesitate to attend their jobs and be back to their homes just like it is the case between any metropolitan city and the towns near to it.

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