The Harutyunyan family lives in Srashen village in the Syunik region of Armenia. The father, Tevan, 31, had a difficult childhood. Losing his mother during his early childhood, his father became his sole care provider. Fate considered this hardship not enough for young Tevan. In 1992, when he was 12, Azeri soldiers violently killed Tevan’s father in their barn and took all their animals. His father’s loud cries saved the lives of many people, who managed to escape when alerted to the danger. Alone after his father’s death, Tevan studied at the Kapan boarding school in the center of the region and served in the army. Later, he returned to his village.
Tevan married Hasmik, a beautiful young lady from Srashen. With three sons, Mushegh, 8; Anushavan, 6; and Harutyun, 2, they are now a family of five.
Without a stable job, the small income that Tevan could generate from gardening wasn’t enough to support his wife and three young children. Their average monthly income was about 7,500 Armenian Drams, less than $25. They lived on vegetables and fruits from their garden. In 2008, the Harutyunan family joined Heifer Armenia’s Kapan Cattle Breeding project, through which they received a pregnant cow.
“Now, besides the cow, we already have a calf,” Tevan said, “Our cow gives us 12 liters [three gallons] of milk daily. My children have fresh milk and tasty dairy products every day. Heifer’s cow provides us with nutritious food. We are so thankful to Heifer Armenia. A part of the milk we sell or exchange with other products on the local market generating some extra income for our daily expenses. I’m also engaged in horticulture which serves as an additional source of income, as our cow is our major supporter.”
“Tevan and I always attend the trainings on animal husbandry and horticulture provided by Heifer Armenia,” said Hasmik. “On training days, I ask my relatives to look after our children for a few hours because I don’t want to miss any training. They are very useful; we are doing our best to apply the skills gained during the trainings in our garden and barn. We are indeed grateful to Heifer Armenia for helping us to have a stable source of food for our three little kids.”
Many families in Armenia live in even worse conditions. Heifer Armenia will continue doing its best to help families overcome poverty and build a sustainable and reliant future for themselves.