From Pigs to a Heifer

“Hello. My name is Levon Darchinyan. I, together with my family live in Spitak town of Lori region of Armenia. In the fall of 2010, my family, along with other families in the region became a Heifer project participant. Heifer provided us with 2 pregnant pigs . Since then our life conditions have changed tangibly. Before getting assistance from Heifer, our income was generated only from horticulture. We grew potatoes, cabbages, carrots and other vegetables for family consumption. We used to sell the surplus of the vegetables to buy bread, dairy products and sometimes meat. We still keep on working in the garden, but two years ago it was our only occupation. The little income generated from horticulture was not enough for a family of six (my elderly parents , my wife, me and our children). Having no animal and not being able to afford one made our daily ratio as well as the sources of income extremely limited…

Since the fall of 2010, a lot has changed in our family. Now we can afford buying enough food for everyone, paying for the utilities, buying books and other stationery for the children.

Getting the pigs, my father and I started to take a very good care for them. Soon in the spring of 2011 seventeen piglets were born. I sold them for AMD 30.000 each (about USD 80) and generated          AMD 510 000 (about USD 1360). Half of this amount was spent to buy feed for the animals and with the other half I bought a bull-calf, raised it and sold in the fall of the same 2011 year for AMD 500.000, thus making double benefit. Selling the bull calf, we decided to buy a pregnant heifer which is going to give birth soon. When our pregnant heifer delivers and starts giving milk, our income will  increase even more. We will have fresh milk and tasty homemade dairy products.

This spring one of our pigs has delivered 7 more piglets, 5 of which I’m going to sell, and the rest 2 I’m going to raise to pass-on to another needy family. The other of my two “mother-pigs” is now pregnant. When it delivers, I will keep all its piglets, to raise them and extend my small family farm.

Heifer is doing indescribably useful and humane work. Firstly, it helped our family to get out of poverty. Secondly, and gave us the skills and trainings not only to take good care of the animals, but also supported us in extended our entrepreneurial skills,  to be able to generate enough to live a dignified life. This is why I am thankful to this organization, wish it long life, and many more successes, as the support that it gives to the rural people is indeed invaluable!”.