A place where the Armenian diaspora joins the local communities of Armenia and Artsakh to defend, preserve, and develop the homeland in a border village. This is how All For Armenia’s co-founders first envisioned the concept of KorniTun. As a frontline grassroots organization that spent the wartime months supporting local and refugee families in Armenia’s Syunik region and Artsakh, All For Armenia understood the urgency of using the experience gained on the ground to implement long-term sustainable projects dedicated to preventing depopulation from key strategic areas such as Kornidzor. This village overlooks both the Berdzor/Lachin corridor as well as the majestic mountains of Artsakh. On September 27, 2020, Azerbaijan initiated a war of aggression against the Republic of Artsakh. After 44 days of war, a ceasefire was signed, forcing over 95,000 Armenians to leave their ancestral lands and find refuge in Armenia. Today, Armenia’s borders remain under threat. In order to increase the impact of the KorniTun project, All for Armenia decided to partner with organizations from the diaspora that share common values. First, we joined with the Armenian Youth Organization (AYO), which donated funds to acquire the house, a small abandoned building whose renovation houses the KorniTun project. Then came the partnership with Miaseen for the first phase of the crowdfunding campaign. All For Armenia took the full lead of the second phase of the crowdfunding campaign dedicated to starting the renovation and successfully reached its fundraising goal in September 2022. After temporary delays in the construction process due to Azerbaijan’s attacks on Goris and Armenia’s eastern border in September 2022, renovations on the first-floor classroom were completed on February 20, 2023! Now, All For Armenia is focusing on phase two of the renovations, dedicated to securing the necessary educational equipment for the completed first-floor classroom and covering the cost of equipment for and renovation of 2 more rooms on the second floor. Please see “KorniTun needs your help to expand in Phase II” beelow for more information.
All For Armenia is building an essential community center in the village of Kornidzor, located at the gates of Artsakh overlooking the Berdzor/Lachin corridor in Syunik province. The purpose of this “KorniTun” (a contraction of “Kornidzor” and the Armenian word for house, “tun”) is to establish a place where the diaspora can connect with the border and its people, realizing the intensity of the everyday situation for communities at the doors of Artsakh. The KorniTun will function as an educational and technology center on the first floor, with lodging on the second floor for volunteers and teachers. Education does not stop when the workshops adjourn, but continues with the relationship built between the youth and the volunteers.
Kornidzor residents have been employed to complete the construction of KorniTun, thereby not only strengthening the village economy, but also reinforcing the unity behind this community home. Once KorniTun is complete, Kornidzor locals will also handle its daily operations, creating valuable long-term jobs for the village. Equipped with computers and Internet access at the tech centers, local children and young adults will attend workshops held by diasporan volunteers, learning skills that we take for granted – Excel, HTML, CSS programming, resume building, photography and videography, among others. This will equip them with the skills to provide for themselves and their families in the future, while also preserving access to a community hub to turn to in times of need.
Securing and investing in border villages means preventing depopulation. KorniTun will foster hope and opportunity in a region that is extremely underserved. Every centimeter of our homeland has infinite value, and we are collectively responsible for our nation’s sovereignty.
We believe the KorniTun community home can become a concept we can successfully replicate in all strategic border communities of our Homeland. This concept can birth a network of community homes dedicated to attracting investment and facilitating development in our frontline villages.
KorniTun has opened
On February 20, 2023, we celebrated the long-awaited opening of the first-floor classroom of our KorniTun community home in Kornidzor village. After five months of tireless construction work and despite Azerbaijan’s attacks on Armenia’s border in September, which interrupted our work, we are delighted to celebrate this monumental milestone. This was all made possible thanks to the generous support of our international community and AYO Association, Miaseen, Birthright Armenia, Union Arménienne de Suisse, Unión General Armenia de Beneficencia, Ara the Rat, United Armenian Diaspora, Kristapor Giragosian, Vino Cholakian, Judith Saryan and Victor Zarougian, Aram Djabourian, and Gérard Guerguerian. Not only did they support us financially, but more importantly, they also demonstrated a deep belief in our mission to bring education to the border, to connect the diaspora with our critical frontline villages. Appropriately, the day of our KorniTun classroom opening fell on the 35th anniversary of the Artsakh liberation movement and the 70th day of Azerbaijan’s illegal ongoing blockade on Artsakh. We are honored to witness the hope KorniTun has revived in the people of Kornidzor, as this community home represents the realization of a collective dream. Stay tuned for the official opening of the second-floor guesthouse, coming soon!
During this first phase of the KorniTun renovations, All For Armenia managed to construct a two-story 130-square-meter addition to the preexisting building. The addition was built from scratch after we demolished the barn. Designed by architect Sevada Zakaryan, with experts closely monitoring the construction, the addition is able to withstand even the strongest earthquakes. Its first floor comprises one 50-square-meter classroom and an adjoining 15-square-meter small office. By carefully utilizing our resources, we were able to not just build the outer walls of the addition, but also fully construct the classroom, granting village youth the opportunity to attend classes at KorniTun as early as March 2023.
The classroom has large outer doors 2 meters wide and 2.5 meters high. We made sure to build the classroom in such a way as to maximize sunlight, which is why the classroom has 5 windows, each 2.5 meters wide and 1 meter high. The classroom has two entrances: one is the primary door from the street, and the second one connecting the classroom to the office has been included for security reasons. In case the village is shelled — as already happened during the first Artsakh war — students will be able to evacuate the classroom through the office area, which has two exits: one leading to the garden and the other to a small terrace next to the building. Once the retention wall is built during Phase II, this terrace will be able to protect them from shells and shell fragments.
The second floor of KorniTun consists of a 24-square-meter bedroom, 16-square-meter kitchen, two 9-square-meter bathrooms, and a 7-square-meter corridor. The kitchen, together with the new extra guest room which was added to the pre-existing building, has 4 windows, each 2.5 meters wide and 1 meter high, giving the space a pleasant studio apartment atmosphere with the sun often shining in the rooms. The same is true for the bedroom, which has one window 2.5 meters wide and 1.2 meters high. All rooms are insulated to preserve heat and render them as cheap to heat as possible during cold weather.
In addition to this construction, we were able to add sturdy basements to the preexisting building, as it was originally standing on mere soil. We also renovated a crack in the wall of one of the large first-floor rooms, which was damaged by shelling during the first Artsakh war. The room is now ready to serve as our All For Armenia warehouse for emergency missions in Syunik and Artsakh.
A call from our borders
- A retention wall around the newly-renovated tech classroom on the first floor.
Orientated southwest, the wall will be 13 meters long and 2-3 meters high. It will be 1 meter thick, reinforced with metal foundations. The wall will also include a network of pipes to allow water to circulate in case of heavy rain.
This wall is a multipurpose feature of the KorniTun project.
First, it will play the role of ground retention to protect the first-floor tech classroom of KorniTun from any ground movement in case of heavy rain.
Second, the water pipes inside the wall’s structure will allow the wall to preserve the building structure, avoiding future water damage to the foundation.
Finally, the wall will also act as a semi-shelter around the classroom, protecting students and teachers in case the Azerbaijani military decides to directly bomb the village.
More than a retention wall, it will stand as a wall to increase safety for our KorniTun community at the border. The total cost for the wall is 4,500 USD.
- Renovating and furnishing the second floor.
- Two rooms (16 and 24 square meters) with bedroom amenities (one single bed, one twin bed, a wardrobe, closet, table, chairs, lamps, and hairdryer).
- A functional kitchen (14 square meters) with a kitchen table for six people (with option to expand for ten people), microwave, washing machine, gas heater, pots, pans, and all necessary utensils.
- A guest room with a sofa and armchairs, bookshelf/library, and coffee table.
- A bathroom (9 square meters) with a shower and toilet.
As a result, the second floor will be able to host five people (volunteers, teachers, guests) at once.
Due to a lack of infrastructure in Tegh community (comprising Kornidzor and 6 other nearby villages), to this day, diasporan and non-local teachers, volunteers, and tourists do not have any place to spend the night in the historical village of Kornidzor.
Transforming the second floor into an operational guesthouse for our volunteers, partner organization members, teachers, and tourists will allow KorniTun to reach its full potential in helping develop long-term projects for the village and rendering the village more attractive.
On top of this, it will be much more convenient for guest teachers from abroad to spend the night in the same building where they give their workshops during the day.
The guesthouse aspect on the second floor of KorniTun will help boost the educational portion of the project on the first floor, creating a symbiotic relationship between the floors of the house.
Finally, all guests will have the chance to enjoy a hearty breakfast, lunch, and dinner prepared from organic products sourced from our partner families in Kornidzor, thereby supporting local rural Armenian families.
The total cost for the second floor renovations and furnishing is 11,000 USD.
- Furnishing the tech classroom with adequate equipment and software.
The KorniTun tech classroom brings a new educational model to Kornidzor village. KorniTun focuses on long-term high-quality education delivered by both professional teachers as well as volunteers. Not only will this classroom serve children studying the latest technological tools, but it will also support the village farmers, educating them on modern agriculture techniques and helping them derive the most benefit from their land and animals.
In order to bring quality education to KorniTun, we need sufficient laptops and desktop computers to support and enhance students’ studies. Currently, the KorniTun classroom has outdated computer models, which are incapable of supporting our technological curriculum. We need to procure 7 computers powered by I5 Intel processors (12th generation) with 512 GB of memory and 16 GB of RAM, a projector, and software.
The total cost of procuring this hardware and software is 10,000 USD.
For donors who wish to have their name or a message of their choice displayed on a stone on the entrance wall of KorniTun (the Wall of Gratitude), we offer the following sponsorship opportunities, available until November 1, 2022:
All for Armenia is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. Your donation is tax-deductible within the guidelines of U.S. law.
Born and raised in Syunik, Sevada quickly became the perfect fit for KorniTun. He carries the same ideology we do of uplifting and supporting border communities. He has employed locals from Kornidzor to complete the construction, which has not only strengthened the village economy, but also reinforced the unity behind this community home that the people of Kornidzor themselves are building.
AYO is an association founded in France, which engages in various projects related to education, sport, and art, all essential tools for the development of children. It also works to attract more volunteers, of all origins, and make Armenia known to as many people as possible. AYO partners with the KorniTun project by providing the funding for the purchase of the property, which was the initial step of this campaign.
Union des Arméniens de Suisse
Jirair & Elizabeth Hovnanian foundation
Ara the Rat