“Our goal is to not only help improve daily life in Artsni, but boost the local economy and ensure its long-term vitality,” says Ara Vardanyan, executive director of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund. “Our cluster of implemented projects in Artsni, sponsored variously by our affiliates in Germany, Montreal, and Great Britain as well as the government of India, is a reflection of our multi-pronged approach to socio-economic development.”
With the construction of a 1.3-kilometer gas pipeline completed, the fund is currently building a 5.5-kilometer internal network, which will supply gas to the some 100 households of the community.
Artsni is among the numerous success stories of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s Rural Development Program. To date the fund’s work in the village has yielded a modern school; a community center comprising the mayor’s office, a health clinic, a library, and an events hall; as well as last year’s provision of school supplies to children in Artsni and neighboring Dzoramut. In addition, the fund built a 550-meter section of a 2.3-kilometer water main, which was constructed with support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development. The section built by the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund connected the Artsni school and the community center to the water network.
“We’re overjoyed by the fact that our community has received far-reaching assistance from the fund,” said Khenko Khachanesyan, mayor of Artsni. “I must say that, prior to the launch of these initiatives, our residents were on the verge of losing all hope. For one thing, the road leading to the village is in such bad shape that we thought nobody would bother to come here to carry out development projects.”
Most of Artsni’s 350 residents are refugees from Getashen. Cattle-breeding is the community’s main occupation. Once populated by Azeris and called Kezeldash, the village was renamed Artsni in 1991. It is located 62 kilometers from the center of the Lori Region and less than half a mile from the Georgian border.