By Anush Dashtents
The Pan-Armenian Fund Hayastan, one of the main channels of Diaspora aid to Armenia, continued to boost its revenues in the course of last year and hopes to register a further increase this year. Senior Hayastan executives said on Thursday that they collected $5.4 million in private donations in 2001 or 17 percent more than in 2000.
The government-sponsored fund has spent a total of $75 million on 138 different infrastructure projects in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh since its creation ten years ago. Only $8 million has been raised in Armenia so far, with the bulk of the contributions coming from the wealthy Armenian communities in the United States and Europe. Most of the funds have been used for the construction of highways and water mains.
Hayastan’s single largest project is the construction of a 170-kilometer road linking the northern and southern parts of Karabakh. The $25 million project was launched in 2000 and is currently in progress. The fund’s executive director, Vahan Ter-Ghevondian, said a 70-kilometer section of the highway has already been built. He said work on another 10 kilometers is due to be completed this year.
The Hayastan money has also been used for the construction of homes for more than 350 families as well as 36 hospitals and other health care facilities.