STEPANAKERT—On July 19, members of the Armenian Youth Federation – Western United States visited a military base in the Martakert region in Artsakh to deliver supplies to the local soldiers as part of the AYF’s “With Our Soldiers” campaign, a multifaceted initiative focused on assisting Artsakh veterans and soldiers since 2012.
Artsakh’s National Assembly Speaker Ashot Ghulyan met with AYF-WUS members the following day to discuss the With Our Soldiers program, as well other AYF-WUS initiatives in Artsakh, which include efforts to restore parts of Artsakh’s healthcare infrastructure, and a professional internship in Stepanakert, the Republic’s capital.
Ghulyan welcomed the representatives and shared his appreciation for the program and commended the work being done for the soldiers, who are protecting the nation’s borders. He also emphasized that the the future of the Armenian homeland relied on the safety of Artsakh.
Ghulyan added that the soldiers serving on the frontline are not only serving Artsakh, but also the entire Armenian nation..
Strengthening of Armenia-Diaspora relations, the domestic life in Artsakh, as well as recent developments in the Karabakh conflict peace process were among other issues discussed during the meeting.
The visit marks the third time that the AYF’s WOS campaign has donated supplies directly to army bases in Artsakh. In December 2016 and on January 28, 2017, in celebration of Armenia’s Army Day, the AYF’s WOS representatives in Armenia delivered a total of $5,000 worth of supplies to bases in Talish and Tonashen. Among the items taken were warm clothes and socks, batteries, linens, and other materials requested by the local military commanders.
“As part of our visit, we had the opportunity to meet many of the soldiers and thanked them for their service, sang together, and exchanged stories. We left completely overwhelmed with gratitude and pride, and were left to discuss and brainstorm about how we as the AYF can become an even more effective support system in the future,” said Arev Hovsepian, a member of the AYF-WUS Central Executive.
While at the Martakert region military base, AYF members made the best of their brief time together with the local soldiers. The donated materials, which were requested of the WOS steering committee by the local military commanders, included two backup electricity generators, military grade-sunglasses, and dust-protective glasses, among other items.
“Meeting the soldiers in Martakert reinvigorated our commitment to the cause and continued expansion of our programs to assist Artsakh and its army. Whether it’s through financial or moral support, the AYF expresses its deepest gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice and service these soldiers give to our nation and will continue to further strengthen their spirit,” said Verginie Touloumian, chairperson of the AYF’s WOS Central Council.
The AYF’s ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign was originally launched in 2012 to help with the medical expenses of wounded Artsakh veterans. The campaign was restarted in the aftermath of the Four Day War with the aim of providing assistance to the families of the fallen soldiers. WOS has raised over $150,000 in the last year since its restart, and has distributed the funds to over 120 families.
To learn more about the WOS campaign or to make a donation today, you can visit withoursoldiers.com.
Founded in 1933 with organizational structures in over 17 regions around the world and a legacy of over eighty years of community involvement, the Armenian Youth Federation is the largest and most influential Armenian-American youth organization in the world, working to advance the social, political, educational, and cultural awareness of Armenian youth.