International Effort for Armenian Agriculture
Cyclists from Across the Globe Ride for their Homeland
|ATG BIKE-A-THON WILL BENEFIT KARABAGH GRAPE NURSERYYerevan, Armenia — On June 17, 2006, at least 10 cyclists from the United States, Austria, Armenia, the United Arab Emirates, and Lebanon will begin a bicycle journey through the mountains, highlands, and plains of Armenia to raise funds in support of farmers and their families in the homeland. This year’s fundraising will help create new opportunities for the Armenians by helping increase production, create new jobs and generate additional income.
Buoyed by the enthusiasm generated from last year’s energy-filled “Bike-a-Thon III” (Ride for Armenia), sponsored by the California-based Armenian Technology Group (ATG), the riders will continue their trek, enjoying world-famous Armenian hospitality while bringing attention to the wonders of Armenia’s historic monuments and varied landscape.
Funds raised from the first three Bike-a-Thons played an important role in helping rebuild the economy of rural Armenia and Karabagh. In 1999, Fresno bicyclist Vatche Soghomonian rode from Stepanakert to Yerevan in the now legendary “Capital to Capital” Bike-a-Thon, which helped establish a grape nursery in Khramort, a village in the Askeran region of Karabagh. “Helping Khramort and its villagers was very important,” Soghomonian said. “The village was completely destroyed during the war. I was very happy to do what I could to help Khramort, which, in turn, benefited all of Karabagh.”
The goal of this year’s Bike-a-Thon is to raise funds to expand the vineyard propagation and cold storage facilities at the grape nursery. “The nursery in Khramort is important in the rebuilding of the grape and wine industry in Karabagh,” stated Vladimir Zakiyan, who directs ATG projects in Karabagh. “We need to increase the number of cuttings we can produce, to be able to replant vineyards left abandoned during the war. Our facility for grafting is in need of improvement, and we need better equipment to do a good job. With the income received from the Bike-a-Thon, we will be able to renovate our current resources and build a new, modern facility for our purposes.”
New Bike-a-Thon emphasizes ATG projects, meetings with farmers and villagers
During their seven day, 1000 km journey, the bicyclists will visit the sites of various ATG-sponsored projects, including the anti-hail systems in Ashtarak, the milk-cooling tanks, and the well-known Wheat Seed Project. They will meet with participating farmers in Artik and Gyumri; the province of Shirak, the Martuni region of Sevan, the Ararat Valley, and the earthquake-affected region of Spitak.
The cyclists will also participate in traditional village ceremonies and visit historic monuments and monasteries including Haghardzin, Goshavank, Varagavank in Shamshadin, and Saghmosavank, which overlooks the Kasakh River gorge near Ashtarak. In Echmiadzin, the riders will visit the center of Armenian Christianity and meet the Catholicos of All Armenians, Garegin II.
The funds raised in this year’s Bike-a-Thon will be used to further ATG’s goal of strengthening the economy in rural regions of Armenia, including border areas vital to the nation’s security. Riders volunteer and pay their own expense to travel to Armenia. The cyclists believe in their mission of assisting the families in Armenia. “We thank supporters for their help during recent Bike-a-Thons,” said ATG’s Executive Director Varoujan Der Simonian. “This Bike-a-Thon has the new objective of enhancing the grape nursery’s capabilities by supplying them with grafting and cold storage facilities, which in addition to creating jobs and generating income, will expedite vineyard rejuvenation in the area and expand it to Armenia, helping farmers in both places.”
Tax deductible contributions may be mailed to: Armenian Technology Group Inc, P.O. Box 5969, Fresno, CA 93755. For more information, please visit ATG web site at www.atgusa.org or call 559-224-1000.
For more information about how you can help rural Armenia, contact the ATG office at (559) 224-1000 or by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). Tax-deductible donations can be sent to ATG; 1300 E. Shaw, Suite 149; P.O.Box 5969; Fresno, CA 93755-5969.