09 March 2015, 11:52
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Bringing Hope and Healthcare to Armenian Villages in Karabakh

With its campaign to bring the first Armenian-made tablets to underprivileged teens in Armenia successfully funded, ONEArmenia (1A) is gearing up to launch its next campaign. This time, it’s not Armenia’s technology they’re investing in, but its villages.

The community of Aghavnatun, located in the Kashatagh region of Nagorno-Karabakh, is home to many things: beautiful landscapes, a tight-knit community, and a whole lot of farm animals. Yet despite its peaceful scenery, “life in Aghavnatun comes with its fair share of difficulties,” says Lilik Shahoyan, a nurse from Yerevan, who moved to the region 20 years ago with her husband, Tigran.

Like many of Karabakh’s rural areas, this community faces many obstacles to its development. In addition to severe underpopulation and threats to its national security due to the conflict with Azerbaijan, Karabakh’s government struggles to fund all the projects that need its attention in these developing regions. Oftentimes, basic infrastructure is either in critical shape or entirely absent. Such is the case with healthcare in Aghavnatun.

The situation in Aghavnatun is dire. Today, Lilik bears the heavy burden of responsibility from being the community’s only health care provider. There are no clinics within a 2 hour drive, which requires travelling via roads in extremely poor condition, making it difficult for vehicles to transport villagers in need of medical attention back and forth. With no clinic to operate out of, Lilik treats patients out of her home. Her equipment, when she has it, is more often than not in appalling condition, and she doesn’t always have the training she needs to execute certain procedures.

1A is pairing, once again, with Tufenkian Foundation to build a desperately-needed clinic in Aghavnatun. In addition to funding costs of construction, labor and transportation, the campaign will arrange visits by trained professionals (both dentists and primary physicians) from urban centers in both Armenia and Karabakh to Aghavnatun, to provide the patients with routine check-ups. The month-long campaign will raise $33,098.

Today, 150 people spanning 3 villages make up Aghavnatun’s community, many of whom are individuals like Lilik, who have abandoned the conveniences of city life in favor of developing these rural and severely underpopulated areas. “The villagers here are dedicated workers, trying hard to make a living off the land,” Lilik told 1A representatives, “but there are still no guarantees against illness or injury. If you can provide the infrastructure that will help us deal with our health issues, then we will take care of the rest."

To contribute to ONEArmenia’s campaign, please click here.

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