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Armenian delegation to participate in Habitat’s Jimmy Carter Work Project

Armenian delegation to participate in Habitat’s Jimmy Carter Work Project

YEREVAN, Armenia (May 21) – A delegation from Armenia will take part in Habitat for Humanity’s 22nd-annual Jimmy Carter Work Project, to be held June 19-24, in Michigan. A portion of the funds raised by Habitat for Humanity in Michigan has been earmarked for Armenia, where 40 percent of the population lives in substandard housing.

More than 230 homes will be completed by June 24 in the host cities of Benton Harbor and Detroit, and in more than 60 other communities across the state as well as across the border in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

“We are delighted and grateful to join the efforts to combat poverty housing at the JCWP this year,” said Ashot Yeghizaryan, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Armenia.

President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, will join thousands of international volunteers to build homes alongside families in need in Michigan. This year, an Armenian delegation will join the build – including the head of the Armenian Church: The Catholicos and Supreme Patriarch of All Armenians, His Holiness Karekin II.

“This expression of good will by the Armenian Patriarch will become an excellent demonstration of the volunteer values within people from all walks of life, backgrounds and beliefs,” said Yeghizaryan.

Forty-five percent of people in Armenia, a country of three million nestled in the southern Caucasus, live in poverty conditions, according to the Council of Europe. Over the past decade, the country has endured the devastating 1988 earthquake which left 500,000 homeless; the Azerbaijani war, which has hindered the country’s ability to rebuild; the collapse of the Soviet regime; and a newfound independence. All have contributed to economic crisis.

Thousands of Armenians still live in metal “domiks,” iron containers erected for temporary earthquake relief. In Armenia’s harsh elements, these homes act like refrigerators in the winter and boilers in the summer.

After the work project, the Armenian delegation, Yeghizaryan and resource development coordinator Zaruhi Tonapetyan, will tour several states in the United States in June and July – Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California and Florida – to share the story of the critical housing need. They will be available for meetings and interviews.

“There is a significant poverty housing issue in Armenia, and we hope to forge new partnerships in America to help us in our continuing efforts to fight this problem,” said Yeghizaryan.

“We’re looking forward to being able to personally thank those who have so generously contributed to the work of HFH in Armenia,” said Tonapetyan. “We’re also excited to share our future plans to fight poverty housing from Armenia.”

Concurrent with events in Michigan, members of Armenian Parliament will be building a home with a family in need in Nor Kharberd, near the Armenian capital of Yerevan. The tithe of all the funds raised within Armenia during these events will be sent to Indonesia, where HFH is rebuilding after the Dec. 26 tsunami.

“While there is a dire need to eradicate poverty housing in Armenia, we also recognize the importance of helping those in need elsewhere,” said Tonapetyan. “We have been praying for those affected by the tsunami, and we hope this tithe, in a small way, will help them build hope.”

Habitat for Humanity Armenia has been working with families in need since 2000, and provided homes for 600 people.

About the Jimmy Carter Work Project
Since the first Jimmy Carter Work Project in New York City in 1984, President Carter and Rosalynn Carter have personally worked on Habitat homes that house more than 10,000 people around the world.

About Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is a Christian organization dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. By the end of 2005, Habitat will have built its 200,000th house and more than one million people will be living in Habitat homes they helped build.

Habitat for Humanity Armenia delegation U.S. travel schedule:
June 19-24 – Michigan (Detroit, Benton Harbor)
June 25-28 – Wisconsin
June 28-July 2 – Minnesota
July 3-10 – Northern California
July 10-16 – Southern California
July 17-19 – Florida

To contact the Armenian delegation:
In Armenia: Zaruhi Tonapetyan, Habitat for Humanity Armenia
Tel: + (374 10) 556-114; E-mail: zara@hfharmenia.org
In the U.S.: Ned Kelly, Habitat for Humanity Headquarters
Tel: (229) 924-6935, ext. 2149; E-mail: nkelly@habitat.org

For all media queries, please contact:
Joedy Isert, Habitat for Humanity
Tel: (229) 924-6935, ext. 2330; E-mail: jisert@habitat.org