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Habitat for Humanity’s ‘Catholicos Karekin II Work Project’ draws 300 volunteers in building simple, decent housing in Armenia

AMERICUS, Ga. (Sept. 5, 2006) – As part of an ongoing partnership between Habitat for Humanity and the Armenia Apostolic Church, 24 homes will be built this week in partnership with families in need across Armenia.

More than 300 volunteers are expected throughout the week led by His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of all Armenians. The build project will provide 37 affordable homes in partnership with families in need in Armenia, symbolizing 36 worldwide Dioceses, plus the Holy See. Volunteers will completely renovate one apartment building of 24 homes in Gavar, near Armenia’s Lake Sevan. A further 13 homes are being built across the country.

“With this historic event, we hope to draw attention to the plight of so many still in dire need of simple, decent housing,” says Don Haszczyn, vice president for Habitat for Humanity Europe and Central Asia Area. “We’re thrilled to join forces with the Armenian Church in our efforts to combat poverty housing in this beautiful country.”

In April, Habitat for Humanity and the Armenian Church signed a three-year partnership aimed at combating poverty housing in Armenia and worldwide.

Joining the Catholicos, and scores of international volunteers, other scheduled participants include: Nic Retsinas, director of Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies and Habitat for Humanity’s International Board of Directors chair; Bob Edgar, president of the U.S. Council of Churches; and Bishop Vicken Aykazian, president elect of the U.S. Council of Churches; ambassadors from Lebanon, Egypt, Indonesia and Estonia, and Deputy Head of Mission of the United Kingdom Embassy in Armenia.

In Armenia, a country of 3 million nestled in the southern Caucasus, 45 percent of the population lives in poverty, according to the Council of Europe. Over the past decade, a devastating earthquake, conflict, the Soviet Union’s collapse and a newfound independence have led to economic crisis. Thousands still live in metal “domiks”, iron containers used for temporary earthquake relief, which act like refrigerators in the winter and boilers in the summer. Habitat for Humanity Armenia has been working with families in need since 2000 and has provided affordable housing in partnership more than 1,000 people.

For more information about the “Catholicos Karekin II Work Project”, visit
www.habitateurope.org, or send an e-mail to CatholicosBuild@habitat.org

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in Americus, Ga., in 1976, Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses in nearly 100 countries, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org.