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A warm home for Christmas

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The Karapetyans’ home is so cozy and warm that no one wants to leave it.

Give Hope to families in Armenia:

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“As a young couple, we could never afford to renovate our home without support,” said Siranush Karapetyan, a 33-year-old doctor from Spitak, Armenia. Her husband, Artak, is a physical education teacher at the neighboring school. In any developed country, they could be a prosperous middle-class family. In Armenia, which is still shedding its Soviet past, their state-paid salaries barely cover monthly expenses.

For years, this family of four—including daughter Lily, 6, and son Gor, 2—has been living in an unfinished house with concrete floors and unplastered walls, and no toilet or proper kitchen. They had no hope of ever changing it. The Armenian government no longer provides housing assistance, and people earn so little that they cannot afford even to renovate a flat, not to mention buy one.

“No bank or financial institution in Spitak could lend us money,” Siranush said. “I was in a desperate situation, and there seemed to be no way out.”

Then the Karapetyans heard about Habitat for Humanity. They learned that it was offering small and affordable loans for home improvements. The family applied.

This worked wonders for the Karapetyans. With a small loan they could install a proper bathroom, renovate their kitchen, finish the floors and paint the walls. Now all their rooms have radiators to keep the house warm in winter. Armenia has a continental climate, and hot summers can be followed by extremely cold winters. With their recently finished renovations, the Karapetyans’ home is so cozy and warm that no one wants to leave it.

“What I feel is beyond words,” Siranush said. “It was all so quick, and I hardly had time to digest this sudden change. My prayers have reached the sky, and we have a decent home to live and thrive. We are enjoying every minute in our new home.”

For the Karapetyans, it was the biggest accomplishment of 2010. They will remember it as a turning point. When they sit down at the New Year and Christmas table this year, the family will thank all those who made this gift possible. They are grateful not only for the material support, but also for assistance during the reconstruction process. Now the family is ready to face new opportunities.

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:

• Make a secure donation in U.S. Dollars to support families in Armenia
• Make a secure donation in Euros to support families in Armenia
• Go to country profile pages to learn about other programs in Armenia.

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