After nine years of living in an abandoned barn, the Klekchyan Family recently moved into a two-storey house in Tavush Village all thanks to a generous donation from Anna Polizzi of Cheltenham, Pennsylvania.

Narine, 36, said that it has become the home of their dreams, and she happily invites over any guest she can. The mother of Marianna, 5, and Hamlet, 2, has suffered a lot from a lack of adequate income, extremely poor living conditions, and constant stress as a result.

“My children would often get sick. Hamlet has heart and breathing problems,” said Narine, bitterly referring to the family’s previously damp house that wrecked the kids’ health. “We moved here on June 8th and they feel fine so far. Marianna runs barefoot all over the house, something she couldn’t do before. Our old house had no floor, no running water, no access to gas; we used to cook, eat, bathe and sleep in the same room. Very often I would get up in the middle of the night because I feared rats would attack my children.” Her husband, Hrant, even used rat poison, but to no avail.

Mrs. Polizzi first heard about the Klekchyan’s story through “Looys,” the news bulletin for Holy Trinity Armenian Church in Cheltenham. She was incredibly concerned with their wellbeing after seeing pictures of the barn where they were living. Then she decided to help change their lives with a very generous donation which covered the full cost of a house in their village.

“Although I am not a woman of wealth, having been a widow and a single mom of two grown children, I decided that this donation would not change my life in a particular way, but it could dramatically change theirs,” said Mrs. Polizzi. “Having always wanted to do something in honor of my father, Hrant Topalian, the only one to survive his entire family during the genocide at the tender age of seven, I thought this would be fitting.” She said that she is looking forward to meeting the Klekchyans and seeing their new house during her next trip to Armenia.

After moving into the new house, Hrant trimmed the trees and built railings along the stairs leading to the second floor. Little Marianna has planted onions and flowers in small pots all over the garden. “Little by little, we’ll create every comfort needed for the kids. We just needed a helping hand for the start, and Mrs. Anna Polizzi and FAR came at the right time,” he said.

Currently, Hrant looks after the villagers’ cows once or twice a month and earns $10. The family also receives a monthly poverty allowance of $60, which helps them to survive. They also grow their own vegetables and greens, and Narine makes cheese, cream, yogurt and butter for the family. She dreams of having her own sewing machine so she could make products to sell for an income. “I studied at the vocational college and used to sew clothing. I didn’t do that before because there was no room for me to design and sew in that house. If had a machine I could start sewing again,” Narine said.