A beautiful summer evening in Southern California, a roof top party in Beverly Hills and cool jazz playing in the background are hardly the elements in which a discussion about landmines would ordinarily take place. But this was no ordinary gathering. Concerned and compassionate individuals joined together at the home of Seza Ouzounian and Ohannes Beudjekian in Beverly Hills on Sunday, August 4 to learn about landmine clearance in Artsakh and about the Halo Trust. As a result, $30,000 was raised toward the goal of a landmine-free Artsakh.
At the initiative and invitation of Seza Ouzounian the invaluable work of the Halo Trust was showcased to this group. Landmines have haunted the people of Artsakh for over two decades. One of the largest per capital incidents of landmine and unexploded ordnance accidents in the world – a quarter for victims are children – is in Artsakh (Nagorno Kharabagh). Since 2000, The HALO Trust has cleared approximately 500 minefields removing nearly 12,000 mines for the benefit of over 130,000 people.
The evening began with welcoming words by the hostess, who then invited Fr. Vazken Movsesian of the Western Diocese to share some insights about the urgency of landmine clearance. Next Amasia Zargarian of the Halo Trust presented a short video and explained the workings of the Trust.
The area of land that Ms. Ouzounian has targeted is in the Maratuk region. $100,000 is needed for this area. A matching fund (dollar-for-dollar) has been established.
According to Ms. Ouzounian, “What was gained from this fundraising event is awareness of how serious the situation is in Karabagh. Landmines have made the inhabitants suffer with loss of limbs and deaths and crippled the farming economy. A third of landmine victims are children.”
Many of the guests had not heard of the Halo Trust. “What touched me most,” she continued “is that some of my non-Armenian friends were so moved that they went to their employers and doctors who are Armenian and discussed Halo’s actions to demine Artsakh.
“We need to not rely so much on outside support, we rather need to hold hands and raise funds so that Halo can finish their work and the land can be safe to live on. We raised almost $30,000.00 and we need to raise $20,000.00 more to clear the region of Maratuk. There is an anonymous donor who is matching each dollar. It takes $100,000.00 to clear this particular area and this minefield is being worked on as we speak.”
If you would like to help this effort, you may visit the Halo websites www.halotrust.org/MineFreeNK, Or you may write checks out to The Halo Trust and write “For Nagorno Karabakh” in the memo field and please mail to
℅ In His Shoes
PO Box 70773
Pasadena, CA 91117.
They will be forever grateful.