#TELETHONARMENIA2019

#TELETHONARMENIA2019

To My Beloved Armenia – Water and Sun to the Communities

On November 28, Armenians around the world will congregate around their TVs, with one hand on the phone, to witness the annual event for the 22nd time. For many years, the donations collected as a result of the Hayastan All Armenian Fund’s Telethons has allowed the Fund to implement ground-breaking projects in Artsakh. This year, the format has changed, breathing fresh air into this uniting tradition. The 2019 Telethon is just around the corner. What’s new, what to expect and what did we inherit from the Telethons of previous years.

Text : Margarit Mirzoyan    Photo : Hayastan All Armenian Fund

As the Telethon of 2019 approaches, thoughts come and go whether this format is still applicable, taking into account the technological and social advancements taking place in Armenia. But for many years, the Telethon has met the expectations of all Armenians, bringing change and delight to the communities in Artsakh. For instance, the donations made for the 2013 Telethon and 2014 enabled the construction of the Vardenis – Martakert road which connects Armenia and Artsakh at the Northern part of the latter. The Fund and the Telethon, in particular, always had critical importance for Artsakh, as due to the local geopolitical situation, it couldn’t apply for international funding and loans. This alternative enabled them to keep the path of development, have new roads and provide housing to the people who had lost their homes during the war.

The Fund has organized Telethons in North and South America and several European countries, bringing both large and small amounts but significant support to the homeland in both cases. In 2018, the Brazilian branch of the Fund raised around 30 thousand, the Armenian community in Europe raised around 1,7 million, Armenia raised more than 1,3 million US dollars. All these donations were added to the 2018 Telethon (11,1 million US dollars raised during the airtime) and directed to the corresponding projects. The fundraising continued till the end of the year with 16 million US dollars’ pledged. In 2017, 12,5 million US dollars was pledged but the record belongs to 2008 Telethon when donations exceeded the 35 million dollars bar.

The results of Telethon 2018

 

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Continuing this tradition, the 2019 Telethon will carry the slogan “To My Beloved Armenia – Water and Sun to Communities” The latter will definitely sound familiar to the reader. The poem of Yeghishe Charents served as its base. According to the HAAF team, Charent’s poem perfectly highlights the potential of Armenia and Artsakh and the future outlook of both countries. The slogan also defines the topic of this year, namely, drinking water and renewable solar energy. For many years, the Fund has implemented drinking water projects in Artsakh, but despite the large-scale investments, there are still settlements where there’s a lack of adequate water infrastructure with only sporadic two hour slots of access to water throughout the day, In Armenia there are also regions where the water system requires urgent repair. If the Telethon goal is reached, 50.000 beneficiaries from Artsakh and 15.000 beneficiaries from Armenian communities will be a part of the project and will receive 24/7 access to clean drinking water.

The next topic of the Telethon is a relatively new direction for the Fund. As a result of the Telethon, many schools, kindergartens, hospitals, community centers, and other public buildings will receive solar panels. This will enable significant savings and use those for the further development of the communities. This project budget is approximately 1 million USD. For the first time in 27 years, the first four hours of the Telethon will be broadcast from Armenia via the Armenian Public TV Channel then the baton will be passed on to Los Angeles. During the Telethon broadcast, the hosts will link with various partners of the Fund from Australia to New York, France and Buenos Aires.

Kindergarten constructed by the support of HAAF

 

There are several reasons for starting the Telethon from Armenia itself. The Executive Director of HAAF Haykak Arshamyan is convinced that the time has come for Armenia to be the hub that connects and communicates with Armenians around the world. Additionally, starting from this year, the Telethon will not only be dedicated to development projects in Artsakh but also Armenia. In particular, several pilot projects will be implemented in Tavush, Lori, and Shirak regions. Also, during various meetings with worldwide communities as well as with the governments of Armenia and Artsakh, it has become evident that both countries now strive to emphasize their unity, and this is the right time to start raising money for projects in Armenia as well.

 

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The Fund is currently going through a massive transformation, redefining and developing all aspects of its operations, emphasizing inclusivity, professionalism, transparency, accountability and added value. With a fresh approach and a new passion for change and innovation, the Fund will continue this global Armenian initiative with an outlook to turn the annual Telethon into a reminder of the year-round profound work, support and donations.