AYEREVAN, ARMENIA — The Fuller Center for Housing Armenia (FCHA) celebrated its 5th anniversary June 28 at the Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan, which was the generous sponsor of the event.
This event marked an important milestone not only for the Fuller Center for Housing, but also for the Republic of Armenia. Since its inception in 2008, FCHA has built or renovated hundreds of safe and decent homes for needy families in remote regions of Armenia.
Commenting on the core values of Marriott International, J.W. Marriott, Jr. stated, “We believe our long-time commitment to a sustainable business sets us apart and our global reach gives us a unique opportunity to make a real difference in communities around the world.”
David Snell, President of the Fuller Center for Housing Inc. shared: “I had the great privilege of visiting Armenia in 2008 when The Fuller Center Armenia was still a dream. Now, five years later, this program has risen to become the most productive organization in the world-wide Fuller Center family of covenant partners.
“This work wouldn’t be possible without the support of those who share of their time and their financial resources. Special recognition is due to local donors/supporters for their gifts. Thanks are also due to the amazing Armenian diaspora community in the United States whose generosity is unbounded.
“Thank you for coming out to celebrate this great event. May the good Lord continue to shower His blessings on The Fuller Center for Housing Armenia and on our work around the world. Every child deserves to have a decent home to grow up in, and together we can make that happen. No more shacks! No more domiks’!”
Discussing the significance of Fuller Center Armenia’s 5th anniversary, Ashot Yeghiazaryan, president of the Fuller Center for Housing Armenia, stated:
“Since 2000, our team has been working in Armenia to eliminate poverty housing, and so far we have reached out to over 650 families. Over 70 percent of these families were homeless, while some just needed home improvements. Every home we have built has been made possible thanks to the dedication of our supporters and volunteers as well as organizations both from Armenia and overseas.
“However the housing need in Armenia is still high. There are over 64,000 families (about 8 percent of population) who need to either build or renovate their homes. We have seen that helping one family at a time is making a difference for a lifetime, and impacting more than one generation. Our mission motivates us to share our love and dedication with these families.
“As we look to the future, we would like to reach out to new communities. We encourage all Armenians and interested people to join this vital humanitarian work and help us change the lives of Armenian families in our homeland.”
The 5th anniversary celebration coincides with joint builds with longtime and new partners: Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan, KPMG, U.S. Embassy, Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX), AGBU, International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC), and others.
FCHA will also commemorate the anniversary with the completion of its 250th home. In summer 2013, this home, now the residence of the Margaryan family in the village of Ujan, will be dedicated and blessed by local clergy. Members of St. Gregory the Enlightener Armenian Church in White Plains, New York, sponsored the construction of this house.
FCHA also partners with Heifer International to provide many of the new homeowners with gifts of livestock and bees; this has allowed the homeowners to generate a stable income and enhance the economy of their local regions. This winning approach of building homes and gifting livestock means that FCHA’s beneficiary families do not feel the need to seek a better standard of living outside of Armenia. FCHA provides safe shelter and a source of income that gives families everything they need to stay in Armenia.
The anniversary coincided with the kick-off of FCHA’s 6th summer Fuller Center Global Builders season. Currently two volunteer teams are in Armenia led by Cynthia Erickson (10 members) and Leo Manuelian (15 members). Both team leaders are from the United States, and both have joined this home building mission since 2003.
“Congratulations to Fuller Center Armenia on this 5th anniversary,” Erickson said. “Of course I was present at your birth, so I feel like you are my child also. Best wishes for your continued success in the future and for the hard work to create this organization.”
“I want to congratulate Fuller Center on its 5th anniversary,” said Zorik Avetisyan from Aragatsotn region, the village of Ujan, whose house was built through FCHA program last year. “In its short but wise term of existence the organization has helped over 250 families giving families in need like us a shelter, warmth and faith for living. The words can’t express the feelings that I have in my soul.”