Families are the foundation of the Fuller Center for Housing Armenia. There is nothing more encouraging that makes us proud than the success stories of the families whose lives have been changed through decent housing.
Blessed Memory will Last Forever
Aghamalyan family lives in a metal container. The father of the family, Valerik, was born in Kirovabad Valerik, the father of the family was born in Kirovabad; his father was a professional welding specialist, who was once invited to work in Spitak. During the 1988 earthquake, Valerik was 5 years old and his twin brothers were 3 years old. They lived in Spitak, on the 5th floor of a 5-storey building. Fortunately, the family has not experienced a loss of a family member; however, their health was affected badly. As a result, his mother had to live with one kidney and his father suffered a spinal injury; his health never bounced back, and he passed away in 2002. The only relative they had in Armenia was Valerik’s aunt who lived in Artashavan village of the Aragatsotn region, and they had to move to the village, settle in a metal container. Since then, they have lived there. Valerik is a janitor at school; his wife is a preschool teacher. The house was built for the family from scratch, as they could not build even the foundation of the house due to health and financial problems. Now, the family lives in this beautiful house with all necessities.
The family have been supported in a blessed memory of FCHA beloved friend, and Global Builders team lider Sona Manuelian.
Housewarming on New Year Eve
The Avanesyans, a displaced family from Artsakh, celebrated a housewarming in Ararat region. It is now symbolic for the Avanesyans, who have gone through war and hardships, to celebrate housewarming and host guests in their new home on the eve of the New Year. The current result of the partnership is a report for Viva-MTS and the Fuller Center for Housing Armenia, whereas, for the families, it’s an immense support. Striving to get rid of hard memories, the Avanesyans found a refuge in the village of Hayanist with new hopes and dreams.
Although their life was not the easiest one, Arthur, the young homeowner finds it unacceptable to show weakness of will. He recalls that in 1995 he was only seven when his parents moved to live in Artsakh. He grew up there, built a home, and formed his family. Due to the recent war Arthur’s family has lost everything and has returned. The young family could only afford to purchase a semi-built building for the completion of which the partnering organizations, Viva-MTS and the Fuller Center for Housing Armenia gave a hand-up.
“The loss is unbelievably difficult; however, we do not have the right to despair. Our children ought not to see us broken. Probably, we have an inexplicable will, strength, and perseverance to create anew and deepen the new roots. Particularly, when you are given a hand-up when you experience hardships, you understand that you are not alone, and everything is still ahead. Thank you for giving us that feeling!” said Arthur.
“Hard times have befallen us all and especially these families who have lost what they have created in a lifetime. The least we can do for these families is to be next to them in difficult times and to support them with actions,” said Ashot Yeghiazaryan, the Fuller Center for Housing Armenia President.
A Long Cherished Home for the Large Family
The Tumasyans are a family of seven. They are from Saralanj village of Shirak region. Mkrtich and Gohar got married in 1990 and lived with Mkrtich’s parents’ overcrowded family. In 1992 Mkrtich built a house with his own strength and moved there with his family. Mkrtich and Gohar did their best to raise their children in a safe and affordable home, but they couldn’t afford to renovate the roof which was a huge problem for the family, especially in rainy weather. The family wanted also to construct one more room adjacent to the house, as the house was already small for the extending family.
Mkrtich and his son are busy with farming and cattle breeding. They earn money but it wasn’t enough for the renovation. They asked for supporting them to lend some amount and they would be able to pay it back monthly.
“We worked hard to improve our housing conditions but all seemed ineffective as during rain and wind the house was damaging. Many years, we have tried to keep some money for changing the roof and do internal finishing works, but it was difficult to do it with the growing needs of extended family. We asked for a helping hand for my family to implement the renovation of our house in order my family also could live in a healthier and happier home. Now, thanks to the generous support of Mr.Albert Deurdulian and the FCHA, we did the renovation works for which we are really grateful,” shared Gohar, the family mother.
We are HAPPY…
“My family lived in my husband’s, Arsen’s paternal house and shared the house with his parents and two brothers (one of them with his own family). We lived with 16 people – in a-three room-house. In 2015, we bought a half-built house with the hope to finish the house construction and move to live in our own house. Arsen, having health problems (in 1998, during Nagorno Kharabakh-Azerbajan conflict, Arsen was injured twice and had many surgeries and now lives with one kidney), was working diligently to finish the house construction, but our dream remained unfulfilled. Though the difficulties, I never lost my hope of having our dream home…separate bedrooms, bathroom, comfortable kitchen and a beautiful dining-room where could host our friends and relatives without shaming. 2017 became a magic year for my family, as changed the whole life of my family. Becoming FCHA beneficiary family we saw that we were not alone…I have never forgotten each day of the construction of our house. Those days will stay in our memory. Now we have a HOME. We live in a house where there is huge effort, soul, happiness, warmth, laugh, everything. We are HAPPY… Thank you everyone who made our dream into reality”.
~Marine Minasyan, a mother of five
Yeghiazaryans’ Doubled Happiness
For many years, we lived in a 18-squere-meter metal container without any housing conditions- no kitchen, no bathroom, no separate bedrooms. Despite the bad conditions and all difficulties, we have been a solid and loving family. Every problem we tried to solve together easing our difficulties. It was more hard to raise children in such poor conditions. In spite of everything, we lived with a big hope that one day we would also have our own decent home. The only breadwinner of the family is my husband, Tatul. He does seasonal construction works. I don’t work, I take care of my four children: Tereza and Volodya are schoolchildren, Rouzanna is three years old and Gor, my little son, is only four months old. I can’t find words to express my happiness knowing that my children already have their own warm bedrooms, we have a bathroom and a proper kitchen where I can make tasty dishes for my family. Just a few months ago, we were thinking about heating the container, and now we just enjoy our happiness and healthy environment at our new home. I promise that my children will never see my crying eyes, and my husband and I will do our best for our children not to have any difficulties in their lives. 2017 was a magic year for my family as we had not only a new house, but also a new baby was born in our family which doubled our happiness. Now my children will raise in a safe home. Thank you so much for making our biggest and long-cherished dream into reality!
~ Aghunik Hovhannisyan, a mother of four
A new stage of life for brothers who have overcome many challenges
The Karapetyan brothers living in Darbas village of Syunik region are guided by a bold slogan “Fate loves the fearless”. The brothers, who have learned lessons from the hardships of life, were able not only to realize the dream of their parents, deceased untimely, but also to have some achievements. Brothers were still too young when they lost their grandparents, who were left in charge of their welfare, and had to cope with the difficulties of life. Last year the young brothers, who relied only on themselves, could make their first and most important dream possible finishing the construction of their half-built house and making it a decent place to live in through the support of VivaCell-MTS and the “Fuller Center for Housing” Armenia. The Karapetayans, who have lived more than a year under this safe roof, are now looking back and evaluating the achievement: they appreciate not only the financial, but also the moral and psychological support. Faith in the future has been restored. The brothers are determined to aspire for new achievements. Along with taking care of their household, the young brothers have partially solved the employment problem. The eldest brother, Vrezh, has graduated from the Accounting and Audit Department of the Sisian College of Economics. He has also graduated from the faculty of Economics and Management of the Armenian National Agricultural University. Despite having two degrees, the young man has to work as a delivery man and is also engaged in volunteering. He continues to carry on his shoulders the larger part of problems and to take care of his younger brothers as a father. Moreover, through his new job, he tries to keep awake the art of smiling in the hearts of other children, who go through difficulties of life. The second of the brothers, Ruben, is a driver and a professional welder; the youngest, Hayk, studies at the Sisian State College, simultaneously trying to master a craft. The brothers, who have made pride and modesty their life standard, translate an important message to the society – not to get discouraged, fight for the realization of the goals and against indifference. They continue dreaming and believing that one day they will be appreciated as specialists and will enjoy a decent and secure life.
The Happy Grandmother. 25 Years of Dreaming of a Decent Home
”Everybody has his/her formula of happiness. For my family it has only four letters-HOME. We have been waiting for it 25 years. When my son was born I was young and full of power. My husband and I were thinking that it will take us only a few years to build a home of our dream and our children will live in a decent home full of love and happiness. But it took us 25 years to build only the basement and the walls.
My family lives in the Pokr Vedi village of Ararat region. After marriage, Vachagan and I, have lived with Vachagan’s parents and brother’s family – ten people in two small rooms without a kitchen and a bathroom. In 1990, when our son, Haroutyun, was born, we started the construction of our own house, but we could build only the basement. In this basement we have lived about 6 years. 16 years ago a neighbor, who was going to leave for Russia, gave us his house as a temporary shelter.
All my family, my husband, my son, my daughter-in-law, my little grandchildren and I live there till now. Despite the fact that Vachagan is a hardworking man, and my son is already helping him, as he is a young man already, we couldn’t finish the construction of the house. Time passed by and it took us 10 years to build only the walls.
This year is the happiest year in my life. My family will have a home. My son, Haroutyun, was born and grew up in a damp and wet basement. I couldn’t forgive it myself. Now, he has his sons. I am so happy now that finally we will finish the construction of our home, the home of our dreams, and my grandchildren will have a better life.’’
~ Raya Hayrapetyan, a mother of two and a grandmother of four
A Story of a Young Mother
Since 1995 my family has lived in a small temporary shelter (domik) with only one bedroom, a small kitchen and a small living room without bathroom and other decent housing conditionsvital for living. It is severely cold in winters and unbearably hot in summers.
The only breadwinner of the family is my husband, Vahan. He leaves abroad to earn for living. Vahan has a 3rd degree disability. I don’t work, I take care of my two sons, Davit and Edmon, 10 and 4 years respectively.
Words can’t express the hapiness of a mother who knows that her children will no longer live in that metal container and will not be ashamed of inviting their friends to their home because of the housing conditions. Now they will have their place to play and prepare the lessons. Now we have a bathroom and won’t use pots anymore for bathing.
The 2014 was a year of a miracle. We have a home. Thank you so much!
~ Sokhak, a mother of two
When Life Changes its Grey Colours into Brighter Ones
‘‘I can’t even compare the life we lived before with the one we live now. For a young family like us this change was vital. The life has changed its grey colours into brighter ones for our family. Maybe I wouldn’t have believed if someone else has told me that miracles like this happen. But we ourselves were the eyewitnesses of the bright changes in our life.
2013 was and will ever stay memorable in our lives. With the help of the Fuller Center for Housing Armenia and the generous supporters we finally have a home. I will never forget how my three years old son was trying to raise the buckets full of concrete at the construction site, as if he understood the vital change that was happening in our life and wanted to be a part of it.
For a long time we have been living with my husband’s parents and brother – seven people in a very small house. For a young and growing family to have a home of its own is of vital importance, but we couldn’t finish the construction of our half-built house due to the financial difficulties and the needs of two small growing children.
Now we will do our best to provide our children with sustainable future as we already have the basis for it. This winter was warmer and full of laughter in our new home. Would like to thank all the supporters. Let many other families enjoy the happiness of having their own homes.’’
~ Lilit, 25 years old mother of two
A Decent Home and a Future for 3 Children
Each child should have a decent home. It is a basic need for raisinga physically and emotionally healthy, and educated, self sufficient generation. Once settled in stable, secure houses, homeowners can further improve their lives and the lives of their children. Having a home of their own often lifts these families out of poverty. A bright example of this is the Avetikyan family, which includes the father of the family, Vrezh Avetikyan, the mother of the family Naira Vanyan, and their three sons: Samson (10), Vahe (8), and Vahan (8).
For a very long time the Avetikyans from Lori Region had been living in Vrezh’s paternal house with his parents and two brothers. But the family was very crowded and it became impossible for them all to live there. Soon after their marriage in 2000, Vrezh and Naira moved to a temporary shelter, a domik.
At first it didn’t seemso bad and they were able to handle the difficulties. But after the children were born it became more and more difficult: the inconveniences of the metal container, which is severely cold in winter and unbearably hot in summer, the lack of bathroom utilities, and limited space for the children to play or study were making it more and more dangerous for the family. Above all, one of the twins was born weaker than the other, and they spent a lot of time in hospitals. There was too much psychological and financial stress.
The low income coming from Naira’s work as a teacher and Vrezh’s work as a driver was not enough for raising children and finishing the construction of the half- built house on Vrezh’s father’s land.
After many years, with the help of the Fuller Center, the Avetikyans were able to complete the construction of their home and are now living there. The happiness of having a decent, safe, and clean home where their children can grow into happy, healthy, and well-adjusted adults fulfills the greatest dream for this family.
A Family of Seven
Lejan, Lori Region, Armenia: The Sarukhanyan family story begins in Stepanavan town. Anichka, her husband, and their 2 children lived in a rented house when the earthquake hit on December 7, 1988.
The husband and daughter died. Soon after the earthquake, Anichka and her son Aramayis moved to the village of Lejan where they owned a barn. There they received a temporary shelter (a metal container called a domik) from the government. Eventually, Aramayis married and had a son he called Sargis. He began to build his own house, but was unable to finish the construction because financially it was impossible. As the family grew and his son married and had 2 children, they remained in the domik and added another domik. But they had no hope of finishing the partly-constructed house. In 2010, when they saw their neighbor constructing and finishing their house with FCHA, they wanted to be involved in the program andasked about an opportunity for another housing project in their village.
Aramayis and Sargis both work as construction workers, but Aramayis is not able to work as hard as his son does, as he has health problems. Anahitkeeps the farm. Their daughter-in-law Lena takes care of the kids and helps with the housework and harvesting. The family also receives welfare from the government. Their monthly income is around 300.000 AMD (900$).
Anichka passed away just weeks after the family moved into the new house. She had looked on and watched the construction of the new house. She moved into the new, warm, healthy house with her son and his wife, her grandson and his wife, and her great-grandchildren, and she died at peace. A few months after Anichka passed away, her grandson had a third child, a son.