More than 150 families in three villages in Artsakh’s Martuni region have received desperately needed humanitarian assistance packages, thanks to a recent partnership between the Tufenkian Foundation and the Yerevan-based Izmirlian Foundation.
The residents of Herher and its surrounding villages, Kherkhan and Tsovategh, came under heavy bombardment during the 44-day war against Azerbaijan late last year. Over the past few months, thousands of families who had fled the region during the intense battles have returned to their homes, many of which have sustained substantial damages.
Because of the war, many villagers also lost their harvests and were unable to adequately prepare their food reserves for the winter.
“The villagers are returning to their ancestral homes—these villages and towns are all they have known, and this is the region that made them the people they are. They are returning with the hope of rebuilding their lives and their homes, not only for themselves but for generations to come,” said Tufenkian Foundation executive director Raffi Doudaklian.
The first distribution took place on Dec. 25, 2020. While many around the world were celebrating Christmas, the Tufenkian Foundation staff, accompanied by several dedicated volunteers from the United States, traveled to the villages to help with the effort.
The families in the three villages were given special food packages, which included flour, rice, buckwheat, pasta, oil, and other staples. One of the volunteers, Dickran Khodanian of Los Angeles, Calif., said that the aid could not have come at a more crucial time for the villagers.
“The humanitarian aid distribution came at a time when there was not much help getting to the residents of these distant villages. I am happy that organizations like Tufenkian and Izmirlian continue to focus their efforts and energy in these places; I am glad that the needs of our compatriots there are not ignored,” explained Khodanian. Subsequent distributions were carried out in the region on Jan. 23 and March 5.
“The purpose of our partnership with the Izmirlian Foundation is to help ensure that the residents of the affected villages can overcome the challenges of the harsh winter. This food assistance helped lessen the financial burden on villagers during these months, enabling them to take care of other necessary expenses,” said Doudaklian.