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Armenia: women who overcome the past

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Being a woman in a former Soviet republic is not easy. Every day, women struggle to overcome their living conditions and keep families going amidst the transition to a market economy.  Armenia is not an exception.

According to official data, around 60 percent of Armenian women live in poor homes. Daily, they face discrimination, get small pay and cannot take out loans. In addition to that, women spend six times more time than men on taking care of the home and raising children.

Habitat for Humanity Armenia wants to improve the living condition of women in Armenia. In partnership with microfinance institutions, it has launched “Building hope in female-headed households” project.

No recovery after disasters

Thousands of Armenian families suffered enormous losses in the 1988 earthquake and afterwards during the armed conflict with Azerbaijan. 

The family of Rayisa Bozinyan was among those affected. She and her husband, Hamzik, live with their son and daughter-in-law. Rayisa’s mother-in-law Araksya and granddaughter Aksana are with them as well. However, Rayisa is the only family member who has a full-time job. Her son Arthur gets seasonal jobs on construction sites.

 

armenia02.jpgAraksya’s house, where all the 6 members of the family live

The family had hardly recovered after the earthquake when the war broke out. Their home was destroyed, and they were left on the street. For over a year, they moved from one relative to another.

Finally, they found shelter in one home. However, the house was constructed in 1950 and had never been renovated. There were no conveniences, nor bathroom or toilet. The entire place was humid.

Money was always short, and it was never enough to cover lining expenses and renovating the house. 

At the same time, the family could not afford the high interest loans offered by the banks. Through the new project, Rayisa could take out a small loan to add rooms to the house.

Help is on its way

The project aims to support 100 female-headed families in improving their housing needs. Habitat for Humanity Armenia is running this project with Nor Horizon, a microfinance company.

All families get assistance and advice on construction works.  In addition to that, families can enroll in financial education training where they learn how to manage budgets and plan their income and expenses.

What is next?

Habitat wants people not only to read about poverty housing but do something to fight it. You can support Habitat’s work in Europe and Central Asia in a number of ways. Here are some examples:

• Visit our U.S. Dollar donation page to support projects in Macedonia.
• Visit our Euro donation page to support projects in Macedonia.
• Go to country profile pages to learn about other programs in this country.

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