Yesterday the Hayastan All-Armenia Fund, which is now promoting itself simply as Armenia Fund, raised a whopping $20.8 million, up from $15.9 million collected in 2009.
I watched the telethon at various times throughout the day. It’s always exiting to watch dynamic people like actor/entertainer Hrant Tokhatyan and Mark Geragos — who proves to be a great motivator — making frequent announcements about how much was raised in any given minute. Some of the song performances, which were surprisingly live, weren’t bad, either — Andre comes immediately to mind.
The theme of this year’s fundraiser was “Water Is Life.” The funds will be directed towards repairing corroded, worn out water pipelines or even in some areas installing brand new ones for the first time where they never existed in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh). With the monies raised last year they were able to make huge progress rebuilding Shushi, making vital improvements on the infrastructure and architecture there (I hope to see them for myself next year).
In some parts of rural Armenia, with Artsakh being no exception, water networks simply do not exist to support some villages. People are required to haul water to their homes in buckets from a water source that may or may not be very close by. And usually they carry the water home using manual labor. For city folk it’s mind-boggling to fathom how people get by without plumbing in their homes — no running water pouring out of a faucet in your kitchen whenever you want to drink a glass of water. No access to a constant, dependable flow of water naturally means a lack of proper hygienic conditions, so hopefully by this time next year thousands of people in Artsakh will be living in cleaner, healthier environments with instant access to drinking water. The new pipelines will truly be a miraculous Godsend to them.
The Armenia Fund is naturally still taking donations, and you can find out more about how to contribute if you haven’t already done so at their web site.