STEPANAKERT, Artsakh—Samvel Mejlumyan, a soldier wounded in the Artsakh Liberation War, celebrated a housewarming in the Askeran town of Artsakh on May 16. The house was renovated by the Tufenkian Foundation, in the framework of the project Housing for Wounded Soldiers. The event was attended by Sergey Grigoryan, Head of the Administration of Askeran Region, Tufenkian Foundation Executive Director Raffi Doudaklian, as well as other representatives of the Tufenkian Foundation, the Askeran Regional Administration and local media.
Since 2003, the Tufenkian Foundation has implemented a number of projects and initiatives in support of Artsakh. In April 2016, in response to the Four Day War, the Tufenkian Foundation launched an urgent appeal to help the people affected by the war. With funds raised during these emergency appeals and through additional support from individual donors, the Tufenkian Foundation renovated or purchased new homes for five wounded soldiers: three in Martakert region and two in Hadrut region.
Mejlumyan, 52, is the sixth soldier to receive a renovated house from the Tufenkian Foundation. However, he is the first soldier of the 1992 war to be supported in the frameworks of this project: the first five houses were purchased or renovated for the soldiers wounded in the April 2016 war. “We are committed to provide better housing for the soldiers of Artsakh, no matter when and during which war they were wounded in. They have risked their lives to protect our homeland, and it is our responsibility and honor to support them,” Tufenkian Foundation Executive Director Raffi Doudaklian stated during the housewarming ceremony.
Mejlumyan was a member of freedom fighter groups who fought for the defense and liberation of Artsakh in the early nineties. He fought and was wounded in his native Askeran region, after which he underwent a number of surgeries after he lost his two legs, needing to use a mobile scooter.
Prior to the renovations, the house was in a poor condition and did not accommodate Samvel’s disability and his mobility needs.
“Providing good housing is one of the best ways to support a soldier like me. For me, the renovated house not only means a more comfortable place to live in, but it also ensures that I can move around freely in my own home and therefore be more independent,” said Mejlumyan.
In addition to general repairs, a new kitchen has been built from the ground up. To ensure that the house is wheelchair-accessible, the doorways have been widened and handrails have been installed in the bathroom.
“We are always happy to welcome and support organizations that work to support this region. Participating in this housewarming is an honor for us and we hope that all the soldiers of Artsakh will soon have a dignified place to live” said Grigoryan.
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 embattled Artsakh, where it promotes resettlement and development projects in the vulnerable border zones of the region.