Although Armenia is a Christian-majority country, the Armenian people have been severely persecuted in many contexts over the years because of their faithfulness to Christ, and there is great poverty here.
A high proportion of the young men have left the country to try to earn money to support their families, meaning that there is a predominance of elderly, women and children amongst those who remain. There is much need, and they turn to their local churches for help.
Ever since an earthquake destroyed many of their houses in 1988, many Armenian Christians have been living in “domings”, shacks made out of scrap metal. These huts were only meant to be temporary homes, but because they are so poor they cannot afford new houses.
Domings have no insulation and provide little protection from the cold (see photo). Many people do not have gas or electricity connections in their homes and winters are extremely harsh, especially in the high-altitude region of Shirak in north-west Armenia, which is 2,000 metres above sea level. Temperatures there can drop to a staggering minus 35-40°C. Winter lasts from November to late May and piled-up snow often blocks the roads for two months or more at a time, making some villages completely inaccessible.