Old address: Vazgen Sargsyan Street, metal container No. 224/109
New address: Mush 2 District, Building No. 4/29, Apartment 21

This is the incredible story of the Hovsepyans, a family that struggled for sheer survival on the margins of Gyumri, forgotten long ago, all but invisible to mainstream society.

Tamara is a single mother raising her only child, David. Tamara is unable to work, as she is almost completely blind. When her mother was pregnant with her, doctors misdiagnosed her mother’s flu and gave her a medication that ended up seriously damaging her eyesight. The wrong medication had also affected the vision of the unborn child. By the time Tamara was six months old, it became clear that she was blind in one eye and had poor vision in the other. Years later, her eyesight became even worse, as a result of a retinal detachment due to a fall on slippery ice.

For many years, Tamara and her son lived in one section of a ramshackle hut owned by Tamara’s mother-in-law, who lived in another room of the makeshift metal structure. This was a rickety, rusted, leaky hovel, lacking even the most basic of amenities and human comforts: no kitchen or bathroom, no access to utilities — such as gas and water — which most of us take for granted.

Yet, as wretched as these conditions were, Tamara considered them still preferable to the alternative, as her mother-in-law had allowed her and David to stay in the hut only temporarily, and it was only a matter of time before she would ask them to leave. Tamara had nothing to her name. Her family house was sold long ago to pay for her father’s surgery. Her only income consisted of some government assistance totaling less than $100 a month.

Apart from her terror of becoming homeless, Tamara’s main concern had been her teenage son. That’s because David, too, has extremely poor vision. He is nearsighted, and must squint his eyes for the most basic of tasks, including reading and walking.

David is an eighth-grade student. He loves literature, and wants to become a musician when he grows up. He hopes to study at the Tumo Center’s Music Department.

Recently, Tamara and David’s lives changed forever when they received the most marvelous gift imaginable, the keys to a new apartment. This was a surprise gift presented to the family by Armenia Fund, through its Gyumri Housing Project, and made possible by donations from Armenians worldwide.

Right after they received the keys, Tamara and David were taken to their new home. Their joy was indescribable as they marveled at the newly renovated and fully furnished apartment, in Gyumri’s Mush 2 District. The apartment also featured a full complement of appliances.

For the single mother and her child, the atrocious conditions of their old hut was, at long last, a thing of the past. Now they had every reason to look forward to a better, and incomparably more dignified life, in the comfort of a beautiful apartment that was to be their own home.

The Gyumri Housing Project is an ongoing initiative, and the support of caring donors is always welcome. Every single dollar counts in making a difference in the lives of Gyumri’s homeless families. It takes only around $25,000 to cover the costs of purchasing an apartment for a family, renovating it, furnishing it, and equipping it with all necessary appliances.

There are hundreds of struggling families in Gyumri who are still waiting for the day when they’ll leave the indignity of homelessness behind, and be given a fresh horizon to live for. With your generous contribution today, we can make their dream come true.

Photo Credit: Areg Balayan