Monday, September 15, 2014

Nina Sardaryan

For 20 years, the family of Sardaryans has been dreaming of decent housing conditions. The family consists of Nina (39), her husband Garik (40) and their children; Varsenik (19), Vahagn (17) and Vakhtang (14). Nina works at the local school as a teacher, as well as cultivates their land. She grows varieties of fruits and vegetables and sells the produce during the season. Garik is employed in the forest as a driver.  Varsenik, Vahagn and Vakhtang are school students, and help their parents after school hours. 
Prior to this house, the family lived in a one-room shack, which lacked basic necessaries such as a bathroom and kitchen. The bathroom was an outdoor hole in the ground and cooking took place outside over a portable gas stove. You can imagine; winter made life harder for this family of five. The family was able to save some money and bought a half-built house, but could not afford to complete it. To save money and fix the home would take the family at least 20 years without the assistant from Habitat.  
“Every winter, it is a nightmare for my family. We simply pray that we will make it to spring.” 
Now the family feels lucky to have been selected as a Habitat partner family. This was a unique chance for the family to complete their home and move toward a warmer and safer winter. 
* Nina’s family will partake in a Global Village build in late September, volunteers from America will come help the family renovate their home for two weeks. We are very excited! 
Toquyen Doan 
Peace Corps Volunteer

Armenia 2013 - 2015 
Karine Vardanyan

The Vardanyan family lives in a scenic, but secluded home right by the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan. We love the openness of the home, the family practice organic gardening and the dog, chickens, and cats roam freely. 

This family of four consists of 84 years old grandmother, son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter. Karine works at a local bakery, and her husband is a migrant worker. He’s home for the summer to construct the house, but usually spends 9 months out of a year in Russia doing construction work. 
This summer the family renovated the bathroom, plastered the walls, and repainted the rooms. They still need to install insulated windows and doors, which the family hopes will be done before the weather gets cold in November. 
We are so grateful for Habitat’s assistant, and I love my new bathroom!” said Karine, with a huge heartfelt smile on her face.  

Renovated bathroom 

Outside view of the bathroom 

The family's old outhouse, which they kept. They made it more pleasant by enclosing it with beautiful flowers. 
Until next time, keep thinking sweet thoughts! 
Toquyen Doan
Peace Corps Volunteer
Armenia 2013 - 2015

Armenuhi Sargsyan

The Sargsyan have been living in this ancestral home for many generations, and Armenuhi wants to renovate the home and continue this tradition for future generations. This family consists of four members, mother, father, and two sons. 
My son just came back from the army this month, he’s 20 years old and will start looking for work,” said Mrs. Sargsyan. She is a housewife and her husband does construction work. Her older son is 22 years old, has served in the army for two years and is now working for Beeline Telephone Communication Company.
Front yard 

New windows and door

Work in process

This past summer, the family did interior renovation, which entail new windows, walls, and repainting of different rooms. When we approached the family, her husband was constructing the roof, which tend to leak and cause mold in winter. In the Armenian culture, it is common for sons to get marry, and start a family in the home they grew up in. 
My son will soon get marry and start a family, and we want our grandchildren to live in decent housing condition. We can’t complete the home at once, but we are able to fix it bit by bit thanks to Habitat.” 

Toquyen Doan
Peace Corps Volunteer
Armenia 2013 - 2015
Gyulana Gyozlayan 

When we approached the Gyozlayan family, we were welcomed with a beautiful sunflower garden and a smiling grandmother. This family consists of three generations, grandmother Siramarg, son Gurgen, daughter-in-law Gyulana, and two adult grandchildren. “Right now, my husband is our breadwinner, my son used to help him, but now he is serving in the army, he’ll be 19 this year,” said Gyulana, when we asked about her family’s situation. Her husband does construction and ironwork in the city’s factory.

 New doors, but as you can see, more work needs to be done on their home 

 Their home was built in the 1960s, at first it was two cabins, but due to the expanding family, they bought the house next door and combined the two homes. The house is one floor, in an L shape, and though it lacks luxury, it was quite charming.

 Thanks to Habitat’s assistant, this past summer the family did interior renovation on the home. They plastered the walls; repainted a few of the rooms; add solid doors, and constructed 3 bedrooms. “Stranger who don’t know us, offering their generosity, it is amazing. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done on this home to make it safe for my great grandchildren, but we will take it one step at a time,” said grandmother Siramarg.

Vergush Sardaryan 

The family of Sardaryans includes Vergush (55), her husband Serzhik (59), their son Kamsar (27), daughter-in-law Lilit (29), daughter Siranush (20) and grandchildren Serzh (5), Vergine (4) and Argishti (1). Serzhik, a former driver, is now a pensioner. Vergush works at the local prosecutor’s office as a cleaner. Kamsar is unemployed, which is not a surprise since lack of employment is an ongoing issue in Armenia. He does construction whenever there is a need in the city. Lilit and Siranush do the housework, cooks and take care of the children. The family cannot afford to take the children to a day care center. One of the most heart-breaking and heart-warming fragments of the job is meeting the children.

The Sardaryan family has been living in substandard housing conditions for over 30 years. The house needs a capital renovation. Their home is very humid year round, which accumulate mold and toxics for the young children. The roof leaks when it rains and snows, making winter unbearable. Since it is difficult to heat the house in the winter, the whole family gathers into one room. They have done a wonderful job renovating their home this summer, but still needs to install indoor plumping for the bathroom, and put up a wall to make another bedroom for the grandparents (as you can see in the first photo). As of right now, the children sleeps in one room, grandparents sleep in the opened room, which is fine for summer, but is clearly an issue for winter. The rest of the family members gather in the renovated living room and sleeps on the ground, in the photo below:

Renovated room! 

The three children share one room, in the room they have one bed, a desk, and a cabinet for clothes. 

The income of the family is too low to accommodate food and solve their housing needs all at once. An affordable Habitat loan was a perfect solution for this family to improve their housing conditions. “Thank you, HFH Collier County for choosing to make a difference in the lives of Armenian families. Your support obviously change lives and give hope for a better future,” Serzhik says.

Toquyen Doan
Peace Corps Volunteer
Armenia 2013 - 2015

Robert Ghazaryan’s family 
Robert (33) and his family of 4 live in an ancestral home in Gosh village of Tavush region.  The family includes Marieta (59), Robert’s mother, Anna (24), Robert’s wife and their 4-year-old son Alen. Currently the family lives in poor housing conditions devoid of basic amenities.  It is very humid and needs an urgent renovation. There is no bathroom and the toilet is outside of the house.

The family’s income is too low to allow them to live on and renovate their home all at once. Robert is a contractual serviceman in the army and Anna works in the local elementary school as a teacher. Marieta does not work; she takes care of Alen, does the housework and cultivates soil for food.  The family could not believe they would ever have a chance to renovate their home until they heard about Habitat. This is the second time that they partner with Habitat Armenia. A few years ago thanks to the partnership they renovated the roof which used to leak
The family is very excited with the extension of this partnership as three generations will soon live in improved conditions.

Seda Parsadanyan's family
The family of Parsadanyans resides in Ijevan city of  Tavush region. The family lives in the house of their sibling who is currently away for migrant work. Previously, the Parsadanyans used to live in  an emergency residential building but as the danger grew  the family sold the apartment and bought  a half-built house in Ijevan.  The house is very old and lacks basic living conditions.  It needs to be totally upgraded. 

The family could not afford to start the renovation on their own due to the insufficient income which is hardly enough to live on.  Seda works in Ijevan hospital as a nurse. Grigori (59), Seda’s husband is a guard at the store of MES. Their oldest son, Karen (30) does not have a job now and the youngest son Gagik (25) is employed in a local petrol station. Lilit (24), Karen’s wife takes care of their kids; Elina (6)and Areg (1). 
Only an affordable Habitat loan could enable the family to improve their living conditions. The family members have already started the renovation and are doing the work by themselves to minimize the costs.
“For many years we have lived in a wrecking building where each minute could become fatal. Thanks to partnership with Habitat for Humanity our dream of having a simple, proper and affordable house will become a reality.  Thank you,” says Seda, the mother of the Parsadanyan family. 

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