Introducing the House of Esther!

House of Esther, Armenia

Ready to initiate developing the House of Esther, I gathered the necessary materials I would need for my trip to Armenia in April. Accompanied by one volunteer, I was equipped with the flyers I’d need for meetings with various organizations and friends to build support and a team of volunteers. Once on location, the renovation process was ready to begin.

Building Community

Beginning in May, work began right away. I prepared the necessary documents with the city and talked to the mayor’s assistant about support for the House of Esther program and for future coordination of refugee documentation. I also met with a Syrian, Dr. Varam, who works in Spitak Hospital to see if he was willing to help these refugees. Our goal was to introduce the House of Esther to the community as a centre for refugees. A few Syrian refugees agreed to visit once work is complete.

Building Renovations

While helping the contractor finalize drawings for the needed renovation, we laid out the next steps to be taken. We hired a few workers to trim the trees, clean out the weeds, and plant additional trees. We connected the main water line and removed all the old plumbing pipes. New water pipes and electrical connections were installed. The contractor continued to work, even after we left for the time being.

The initial funds for this renovation were received in June, and communication and work coordination continued. We installed the new plumbing and heating pipes and initial electrical wiring. We have three rooms completed with toilets, the kitchen has been remodelled, and the outside and patio areas have been cleaned. Adjacent mobile homes for working areas and future training space have also been prepared.

Building Relationships

In July, our core team consisted of two volunteers and my family of four. As the renovation was progressing well, we had a picnic with a few families. After meeting with different people from Syria, we discussed planning another gathering with interested refugee families to present the House of Esther program. In early August, we plan to bring a lot of donated items when we travel there.

For the next few months into the Fall, we’re working toward opening our doors and beginning our Transformational Community Development training. In August, we hope to install a gas line when funds are available. Residents will help install doors and windows, furthering preparations for more refugee families and abused women.

By September, we hope to have funds raised for a container to be sent, all rooms completed, and more families moving in. This would be a good time to introduce the self-sufficiency programs with sheep, cows, chicken, and a green house. A delegation of GHNI leaders will pay a visit in October to help guide advancement of the training programs and workshop activities, focussing on our goal toward self-sufficiency.

Vince

GHNI Project Manager