An annual Thanksgiving Day telethon broadcast from Los Angeles, USA, last night has secured more than $22.6 million in donations for a pan-Armenian charity to build a strategically important road connecting Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
According to the official website of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund, more than half of the sum, $12.35 million, has been pledged by Russian Armenians, the second biggest amount of donations has come from the United States – a total of $3 million. The rest of the pledges have been made by donors in France, Germany, the Netherlands, other European countries, as well as in Armenian communities in the Middle East and Latin America.
Armenians from Armenia have pledged to donate more than $1.6 million, while Karabakh Armenians will contribute $1 million for the construction of a 116-kilometer highway connecting Vardenis in eastern Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh province of Martakert, which is planned as an alternative to today’s operating road via the Lachin corridor.
Similar fundraisers in 2012 secured over $21 million in donations to finance rural infrastructure projects in Nagorno-Karabakh and help Syria’s ethnic Armenian community. The bulk of the donations then also came from wealthy Armenians in Russia.
Hayastan has implemented development projects in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh worth more than $250 million since its establishment two decades ago. In particular, it has built or renovated about 500 kilometers of roads, hundreds of apartments and houses and dozens of schools, kindergartens and healthcare centers.
The charity’s Board of Trustees is headed by Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and comprises other senior Armenian state officials, Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II as well as prominent representatives of Armenian communities around the world.