In an annual fundraising campaign, a pan-Armenian charity has received about $21 million in donations pledges from Armenians around the world for fresh rural infrastructure projects to be mainly implemented in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Most of the money was raised by the All-Armenian Fund Hayastan in a 12-hour live “telethon” broadcast from Los Angeles late on Thursday and early Friday. The sum also includes some $8 million which was donated by Russian-Armenian businessmen at a fundraising gala in Moscow attended by President Serzh Sarkisian last week.
According to Hayastan, another $1.8 million was contributed by thousands of Armenians in Europe who took part in a “phoneaton” held this month. The Yerevan-based fund, which has offices in major Armenian communities abroad, will continue accepting contributions from residents of Armenia until the end of this year.
Hayastan intends to use the bulk of the funds for refurbishing drinking water and irrigation networks in villages across Karabakh. The rest of the money is to be spent on other infrastructure projects in the disputed region and border villages in Armenia proper.
Karabakh has been the main beneficiary of such assistance ever since the fund’s establishment in 1992. Some $15 million raised by it late last year was mostly channeled into the reconstruction of the war-ravaged town of Shushi.
According to information posted on its website, the fund has implemented to date some 700 large and small infrastructure projects worth a total of more than $200 million. That includes the construction of hundreds of kilometers of roads, water pipes and gas transmission lines as well as over 400 apartment buildings and houses. The fund has also built or repaired 218 schools and 34 healthcare facilities in Armenia and Karabakh.