There are a number ways that you can become involved with Sandy Murray’s activities.

Volunteer

• You can volunteer to travel to a project site and work with our teams.

Suggest/Question

• You can submit small worthy project ideas that meet the SMMF mission. Contact us for project requirements.

Donate

• You can contribute any amount directly to SMMF to help us grow, or to a specific project that unite our mission with your personal charitable contribution plans. We do not use any of your contributions for the administration of SMMF; all donations go directly to project work. To donate to a specific project, just list that project in the comments section when you are filling out information for Paypal.

A small gift that continues to give!

I visited the Nagorno – Karabakh region three times during my work in the Caucasus and found inspiration everywhere I looked. The following is one example of SMMF post war support for refugee families forced to leave home and start life over.

Lachin, the city that became Berdzor is a place where a small gift from SMMF continued to help refugees restart homes and businesses. The city lies mid-way between Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh in a narrow, short corridor, where on May 18, 1992 Armenians captured and then destroyed the entire city and Azerbaijanis fled leaving the burned hull of the their city. The city was essential because it provided the only link between Armenia and the Armenian populated Nagorno-Karabakh region located in the territory of Azerbaijan. This conflict over the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh was the longest running in Post Soviet space.

Refugees from Azerbaijani captured towns and cities began populating Berdzor and with the help of a donation of one cow, two hens or a goat and about $200.00 they started a new life. I visited there in 1993 and marveled at the progress this handful of Armenians and Karabakhians had made. There Mamik Sarajan, a blacksmith carrying on a third generation of a smithy business, was able to buy supplies and build a smithy, put his tools to work and create farm and garden equipment, wood cutting axes and combine blades for the new residents to start a community with a future. He and several others were refugees from Gheteshan a small village destroyed by the war.

I left after presenting $1000.00 to him in 1993 and learned the following year that he’d not only repaid the loan, he’d added a bit more. It was repaid to the town’s governor who then awarded it to two other refugee families. The new recipients were Alex Avaghian, who started a popcorn business, and the very large family of Sergei Poghosian who had lost two sons during the fighting and was a farmer. Both of these men also fled Gheteshan.

That’s is what we at SMMF intended, that individuals finding success would spread it to others within their community by providing support from their profits! In addition to helping individuals to support their families, you can see in the last picture that there was community reconstruction of roads connecting Berdzor with other towns and cities so the SMMF recipients could serve broader markets.