STEPANAKERT, Artsakh—Gagik Petrosyan, a soldier wounded in the aftermath of the 2016 April War, celebrated a housewarming in Stepanakert, the capital of Artsakh, on Aug. 31. The house was renovated by the Tufenkian Foundation’s Housing for Wounded Soldiers initiative.
Tufenkian Foundation Executive Director Raffi Doudaklian and board members Antranig Kasbarian and Andre Gumuchdjian, Italian-Armenian writer Antonia Arslan, a group of Diasporan Armenians, as well as representatives of local media attended the housewarming.
Since 2003, the Tufenkian Foundation has implementedprojects and initiatives in support of Artsakh. In April 2016, the foundation launched an urgent appeal to help the people affected by the war. Since then, with funds raised during that emergency appeal and through additional support from individual donors, the foundation provided housing support to seven soldiers—three soldiers in Martakert, one in Askeran, and one in Martuni.
Although the initiative was launched with the aim of supporting soldiers injured in the April War, it was later expanded to include soldiers with housing needs who have been injured in battle and are not able to able to repair their homes or purchase new ones. So far, houses have been renovated for two soldiers who fought and were wounded in the Artsakh Liberation War of the 1990s.
Petrosyan, age 38, is the seventh soldier to receive a fully renovated house from the Tufenkian Foundation. Before being wounded, Petrosyan served in one of the frontline military bases in Artsakh and was heavily wounded during one of the battles following the April War.
Now Petrosyan is married and has two daughters. Despite his severe disability, Petrosyan, a captain by rank, continues serving the Self Defense Forces of Artsakh as an intelligence officer. Before the house was renovated, the family lived in poor housing conditions for over 10 years, placing the health and well-being of their children at risk. While Petrosyan tried to carry out some renovation work, his disability prevented him from completing the improvements.
“These soldiers leave everything behind to serve our country and protect our borderlands. The least we can do is make sure that they have decent housing,” Tufenkian Foundation Executive Director Raffi Doudaklian said during the ceremony.
As a result of the reconstruction works carried out by the Tufenkian Foundation during the past couple of months, the house is now fully renovated. In addition to general improvements, the roof has been repaired, windows and doors have been installed, and new flooring has been set.
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.