Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tufenkian Foundation Crisis Relief Initiative

Rick Barry
Tufenkian Foundation
212.475.2475 x384


Tufenkian Foundation sets up emergency fund for neediest cases

Dear Friends,

The new economic chaos in the world has already caused rising poverty in Armenia. Our staff now regularly reports shocking situations where people lack decent shelter, are unable to make utility payments, or can’t meet basic food and health needs. Due to rising prices and growing unemployment, the TF-supported Zankagatun NGO is now flooded with urgent calls for help as alcoholism, abandonment, and starvation spread.

Just two weeks ago, our staff met a woman named Armine. Unemployment had driven her husband to alcoholism, which led to abuse. She fled with two young children and began living in a barn. While trying to work, Armine left her five-year-old alone each day to care for her two-year-old. The only food Armine could afford was sweetened water, so both children quickly reached advanced stages of malnutrition. What little money she had scraped together cleaning neighbors’ toilets was not enough to avoid being evicted from the barn.

Cases like Armine's are no longer rare. Families that used to be able to afford the bare minimum are now often left in the streets. To make matters worse, Armenia’s government is denying how bad the problem is—so far, they have largely ignored or covered up, rather than risk admitting any failure to protect the people. At this point, most emergency protection is coming from NGOs and informal support networks.

With this in mind, the Tufenkian Foundation has set up an emergency fund for the neediest cases. The fund will disburse small amounts for occasional help to people with terrible problems. Amounts can vary from $30 for a utility payment, to $100 to repair someone’s roof, to $300 for emergency health care.

To kick things off, James Tufenkian has contributed $25,000 over and above the larger funds he gives toward our budget each year. We hope that you, our friends and supporters, will collectively match and surpass James’s contribution, offering the direct assistance that will help keep Armenians on their feet until this crisis subsides.

Checks marked as being for the Emergency Relief Fund can be made payable to the Tufenkian Foundation, 20 Capitol Drive, Moonachie, NJ 07074.

All donations are tax-deductable, and every dollar of your support, without exception, will go directly to Armenia’s neediest. The Tufenkian Foundation’s existing staff and resources will make sure this is done, and fast.

Thank you all for your continuing support. We appreciate it, and never more than right now.


Antranig Kasbarian
Director of Development

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