BERD, Armenia (A.W.)—For the Homeland Development Initiative Foundation (HDIF) and the Berd Women’s Resource Center Foundation (BWRCF), the problem for women living on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border is clear: personal health and wellbeing are rarely a priority and often get placed on the backburner amid the tense situation of the region.
Lack of employment, constant sniper-fire, no local health clinics are some of the challenges that the women in these border villages face. They want to stay in the places they were born, grew up in, and have lived their entire lives, but all of these problems combined make it difficult for them to stay in their homes, let alone worry about their health and wellbeing.
After identifying these problems, the BWRCF—which, among other projects, supports the development of the village of Berd and surrounding communities—reached out to the HDIF to help resolve them.
The solution? If women in border villages have access to the tools and education they need in order to stay healthy, it will be easier for them to remain in their homes.
Together, the two organizations launched a crowdfunding project called “Bring Hope and Health to the Border” through the popular Indiegogo platform. Their mission is to raise the funds necessary for women in the villages of Berd, Berkaber, Nerkin Karmiraghbyur, Aygepar, and Movses, to be able to have better access to these vital tools and education.
“Anahit [Badalian, director of BWRCF] came up with this idea during the early fall of last year, as she wanted to bring focus to the women in the villages on the front line. She said they have no jobs, and really need to be focused on,” said Timothy Straight, founder and creative director of HDIF, speaking to the Armenian Weekly.
Through the website, those who contribute to this initiative will be rewarded crochet key tags handmade by the women in these border villages in the shape of their dream homes. The profit from each key tag will go towards gynaecological services and mammograms for women.
Each of the women participating in the project were interviewed about their stories, problems, and thoughts for profiles updated on the crowdfunding page.
“It has been a struggle to keep the focus on this less immediate, not-in-the-headlines issue—the long, slow grind on the health of women in Tavush over 20 years of enduring sniping across the border,” said Straight, who added that most of the women in the villages have troubles either with their thyroids, with lumps in their breasts, or other women’s’ health issues, but that none of them consult a doctor. “We need these mothers to be there for their children, and we need peace,” he said.
The project, which has a goal of raising a total of $10,000 dollars, will conclude in three days. To learn more about the project or to contribute, visit the “Bring Hope and Health to the Border” Indiegogo page.