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Celebrating World Habitat Day and the launch of new project in Nshavan

October 6, 2008


Archbishop Viken Aykazian (left) and the RA Deputy Minister of Urban Development Karlen Gevorgyan helping the families and the volunteers rennovate and complete their homes.



Schoolchildren greeting the guests of World Habitat Day celebration at Nshavan

YEREVAN (6 October 2008) – The village Nshavan embraced a new communitywide project with Habitat for Humanity Armenia this week to eradicate poverty housing in this agricultural community of 2,400, marking the launch of the unprecedented effort with the weeklong World Habitat Build on Monday, October 6.

A ceremony kicking off the build and commemorating World Habitat Day took place Monday at the village hall of Nshavan, about 40 minutes from Yerevan. Residents of Nshavan, together with distinguished guests including the Armenia’s deputy minister of urban development and representatives of Armenian and international NGOs, attended the event. Also attending the opening ceremony was Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, a director on Habitat for Humanity’s international board.

The United Nations-designated World Habitat Day on Monday, 6 October, calls for the recognition of the state of human settlements and the basic need for adequate shelter for all. Habitat for Humanity’s World Habitat Build in Nshavan marks the observance throughout the week to accommodate various groups of volunteers who will help finish the half-built houses of two families.

“We are here to celebrate the beginning of a new start to improve the housing conditions of the inhabitants of Nshavan and many other villages and towns in Armenia,” said Habitat for Humanity Armenia executive director Irina Vanyan. “I am very thrilled to find so many supporters here. The excitement with which Habitat for Humanity Armenia and its project is greeted in Nshavan is indeed encouraging.” Ms. Vanyan also thanked local and international volunteers who had arrived Nshavan to give the partner families a hand up in making their dream of having a simple, decent, and affordable home a reality. She particularly thanked the volunteers of Armenian NGOs IESEC, AMSE, Luysi Ashkharh, and Clean Yerevan.

“Today we are actually celebrating the commitment the partner families and the people of Nshavan are going to make to end poverty housing in your village,” said Habitat for Humanity Europe and Central Asia Program Director Lucija Popovska. “The real heroes today are the families who have inspired us to help build their and many other peoples’ homes in their community.”

“Habitat for Humanity’s commitment to the village Nshavan is serious,” said Popovska. “Our objective is that when Habitat for Humanity leaves this community, nobody will be living in poverty housing.”

Karlen Gevorgyan, the Republic of Armenia Deputy Minister of Urban Development, congratulated the people of Nshavan. “I am convinced that these projects will find success in Nshavan and many other villages throughout Armenia,” said the deputy minister. “We are also extremely glad on the new partnership between Habitat for Humanity Armenia and the RA Ministry of Urban Development to more effectively tackle the issue of poverty housing throughout Armenia and help an increasing number of families in living in decent homes.”

“We are extremely happy that the project of Habitat for Humanity Armenia kicked off in Nshavan,” said Marzpet Hakobyan, the Mayor of Nshavan. “The need in our village for adequate housing is indeed pressing, and we hope that at the end of the project’s activity in Nshavan, our village will have a nicer look with its renovated houses.”

Towards the end of the opening celebration, Archbishop Vicken Aykazian blessed the project. “Helping to our neighbors, our friends, and other people is a duty assigned by God to every Human Being. Helping people in Armenia to have better homes is the mission of Habitat for Humanity in Armenia,” Aykazian said.

After the opening ceremony, guests joined local and international volunteers and the partner families in building their homes. During the build week, more volunteers, including Habitat for Humanity international board chair Ron Terwilliger, will lend the families a hand up.

Habitat’s self-help approach has worked for nearly 300,000 families in more than 90 countries, and it’s working in Nshavan and throughout Armenia. Habitat for Humanity earlier this year recommitted itself to improving housing conditions in Armenia, where about 40 percent of the country’s 3 million population live in substandard shelter. In addition to Nshavan, Habitat is tackling a communitywide project in Khachik, not far from the border with Azerbaijan.

The two completed homes will be blessed and dedicated on Saturday, October 11, at 11:00 AM.

About Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity Armenia is a nondenominational Christian charity that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. In Armenia, Habitat for Humanity builds, renovates and repairs houses; offers affordable home-improvement loans; and advocates for affordable housing, all with families in need. Find out more at
Since its founding in 1976, Habitat for Humanity International has built nearly 300,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for 1.5 million people.