September 27, 2020 marks the start of the attack on Artsakh by the Azeri government along with its allies and hired guns. We stand with all the soldiers who fought valiantly to defend our homeland. We stand in solidarity with all those who gave their lives, and we stand by their families who are still coping with their loss. We stand with and support those who were injured while protecting our borders. We stand with all those who lost their homes. We will continue to help those in need. We will continue to stand with the soldiers to protect our homeland.
Last year brought extreme grief to our nation, and that grief continues to this day with the signing of any agreements with ancient aggressors who continue to threaten the existence of the Armenian people, nation and its diaspora.
True to its humanitarian objectives, the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) activated its entire membership from the first day of the Artsakh War by providing immediate relief efforts and assisting the civilian population affected by the 44-day war.
The 30-year active presence of the ARS in Armenia and Artsakh, with projects realized in a number of fields, proves the Society’s devoted commitment to the welfare and progress of our homeland. Today, faced with sad realities, despite all the post-war trauma and emotional and physical pitfalls, the ARS is still running its relief efforts in wounded Artsakh. Throughout the tragedies of the Artsakh War and its aftermath, our Society stood by the Armenian servicemen and volunteers, their children and families, and all who were suddenly deprived of their ancestral homes and needed immediate assistance.
With the collective and constant efforts of the ARS Central Executive Board (CEB), regional executive boards, the executives of entities and chapters, as well as worldwide donors and supporters, it became possible to reach and help wounded soldiers, the families of fallen heroes, the children and the families who had lost their homes and lands. Alongside programs realized over the past months, today, the ARS is planning a new program to assist the families of Armenian POWs and those missing in action. The humanitarian activities accomplished by the ARS in Armenia and Artsakh since September 27, 2020 are as follows:
- With the joint efforts of ARS/Canada, ARS/Eastern and Western USA, CBA/France, ARS/Belgium, ABC/Greece, and their Armenian communities, $3,297,500AMD worth of items were shipped to Armenia and Artsakh to be distributed among displaced families and individuals who had taken refuge in Armenia and cities of unoccupied Artsakh. Items included medication, coats, clothes, footwear, bedding items, food, medical equipment, sleeping bags, utility shoulder bags, wheelchairs and walkers, baby food, powder milk and other everyday necessities.
- Expanding its annual Yuletide (Amanor) Program, the ARS Executive Board launched the “Special Amanor” program which was aimed at bringing some holiday cheer to the children of displaced residents of Artsakh. The local ARS entities distributed gifts to 4,034 children both in Armenia and Artsakh. Children received coats, toys, educational games and stationery.
- Considering the status of the displaced families as a result of the 44-day war, the CEB initiated the “Stand with an Artsakh Family” relief project. The goal of this project was to provide financial assistance to one thousand displaced families from Artsakh. Each family received a total of $1,000USD over the course of four months. With the generous donations of ARS supporters and entities, in total, $1,000,000 ($381,500 in Armenia and $618,500 in Artsakh) was distributed during the four phases of the project.
- When war broke out, teachers, principals and staff members of the ARS “Soseh” kindergartens fled to various cities of Armenia, often leaving behind their sons and husbands. Considering the uncertainty of the war and the high cost of living in Armenia, the ARS decided to provide a single allocation of $300USD to all. In total, $24,596 was allotted to this purpose.
- ARS/Armenia allocated $5,123USD for one month of meals for a shelter in Zvartnots hosting 165 refugees.
- The ARS has been a loyal supporter of the Military Disability Rehabilitation Center at the Heratsi Hospital, securing specialized equipment to provide professional treatment to the wounded. To date, we have secured an anesthesia machine, an orthopedic surgical table, Arthrex arthroscopy tower and a ventilator․ The ARS has donated a total of $184,000USD to the Center.
- During the early days of the Artsakh War, a total of $52,400 was provided to 74 families of fallen and wounded soldiers.
- The ARS has been sponsoring young children in Armenia and Artsakh since 1992. Immediately after the breakout of the war, the CEB revamped its orphan sponsorship program and renamed it the “Children of Fallen Heroes” to financially assist the children of fallen heroes, both in Armenia and Artsakh. For $330 a year, sponsors can make an impact by transforming the life of a child whose father sacrificed his life while defending our country. Donors must agree to sponsor children until the age of 18.
- It is within the broad scope of the ARS objectives to assist the families of Armenian POWs and of those missing in action. Planning ahead, we are putting our efforts toward helping those families by providing them with care packages and other everyday necessities.
We thank our supporters, donors and all our ARS entities, whose moral and material contributions have made it possible for us to achieve the successful culmination of ARS Emergency Assistance Programs both in Armenia and Artsakh.
True to our motto “With the People, for the People,” ARS activities continue with the same zeal and commitment. To become a proud supporter of our thriving, non-profit, humanitarian assistance programs, invest your generous, tax-free donations to the ARS Artsakh Assistance Fund.