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Keeping the Faith in Armenia -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Keeping the Faith in Armenia



Norayr Sargsyan stands inside his family’s dilapidated apartment in a crumbling Soviet-era building in Karakert.


View a slideshow: Keeping faith in Armenia


Habitat Armenia continues its fight to end poverty housing in the Caucasus country

Two decades ago, one of the 20th century’s deadliest earthquakes rocked the Caucasus country of Armenia, killing about 25,000 people in their homes, workplaces and schools just before noon on a bitterly cold day in December. More than 500,000 people—about one of every six in Armenia—were left homeless, many still living today in metal domiks, or steel shipping containers, that the Soviet Union sent in the aftermath as temporary shelter.

Earlier this year, Habitat for Humanity Armenia launched an aggressive plan to finally end poverty housing in the country, starting community-wide rebuilding projects in two villages, home-improvement lending programs in another four, and collaborating with the government to help get those still stuck in domiks into simple, decent, affordable shelter.

Here, Habitat photographer Ezra Millstein chronicles firsthand Armenia’s housing conditions 20 years after the earthquake, as the country that was the first in the world to adopt Christianity keeps its faith that everyone deserves a decent place to sleep at night and a home to grow into all that God intends.