Fuller Center helping families in Lori and Vayots Dzor during summer 2012 program
Published: Monday July 02, 2012
Yerevan - The Fuller Center for Housing Armenia (FCHA) has kicked off summer 2012 with its Global Builders volunteer teams. More than 90 volunteers will travel from the United States, Europe and Canada to Armenia with Global Builders teams.
FCHA invites Armenians and non-Armenians to join its mission to help eliminate poverty housing in Armenia. Participants work shoulder to shoulder with homeless families in destitute villages helping to build decent and safe homes.
The Fuller Center for Housing Armenia welcomes volunteers ages 14 and up to participate in this extraordinary personal journey. Space is available for a Yerevan-based team from August 11-25. The cost of this two-week trip will be $1,620. Neither construction experience nor knowledge of the Armenian language is necessary. An FCHA staff member who is fluent in English will accompany teams daily. The work at the site is organized and supervised by a professional construction manager. Volunteers stay at centrally located, comfortable hotels that provide generous amenities with breakfast included each day. Anyone interested in this rewarding experience is encouraged to email email@example.com.
The first Global Builders team of 2012 was led by Patricia Zerounian of Santa Cruz, California and worked in the village of Lejan in the Lori region. The team assisted the Sarukhanyna family, which has been homeless for 25 years. In the late 1980's, Aramayis and Anahit Sarukhanyan lived in Stepanavan, but their home was destroyed in the 1988 earthquake. Without a roof over their heads, they accepted assistance from the government and moved into temporary shelter, called a domik. However, this temporary accommodation became a permanent residence for them as well as thousands of families. In 1990, like many quake victims, they attempted to build a new home in the village where they relocated.
However, the devastating financial crisis in the 1990's prevented them from realizing their dream of owning a home. As the family expanded, they added a second domik to their land, but the foundation of their permanent home remained abandoned. Today, seven people representing three generations of the Sarukhanyan family live together.
For this Global Builders volunteer team, the most emotional and jubilant moment came when the cement flooring had been poured, and Aramayis laid the very first brick of his new home. Within a day, the six team members working with the Sarukhanyan family had laid the bricks of a portion of the home's first wall. This unforgettable journey was all the more special with sightseeing trips to famous Armenian religious, cultural and historical attractions. A Global Builders team led by Cynthia Reimers Erickson is continuing the work on the Sarukhanyan's home through the month of June.
At the same time, another Global Builders team is completing a home in the village of Areni in the Vayots Dzor region. This team is led by Jackie ElChemmas and represents St. John Armenian Church of Greater Detroit.
FCHA is proud to partner with the United States Embassy, Armenian Apostolic Church, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), Armenian Relief and Development Association (ARDA), Birthright Armenia, Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC), Armenia Tree Project (ATP), Peace Corps, Marriott Hotel, VivaCell-MTS mobile operator, Pricewaterhousecoopers, KPMG, Cascade Insurance, International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), Heifer Project International, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX), and Knights and Daughters of Vartan, among many others.
Fuller Center for Housing Armenia is a non-government, charitable organization that supports community development in the Republic of Armenia by assisting in building and renovating simple, decent and affordable homes, as well as advocating the right to decent shelter as a matter of conscience and action. FCHA provides long-term, interest-free loans to low income families. The monthly repayments flow into a Revolving Fund, which is used to help more families, thereby providing a financial foundation for a sustainable community development effort. Since 2008, FCHA has built or renovated 199 homes with 17 currently in progress. For more information, please visit www.fullercenterarmenia.org.