Heifer Armenia started its Armavir Region Integrated Rural Development Project in the spring of 2008. Six communities – Lernagog, Myasnikyan, Dalarik, Hushakert, Qarakert and Argina are engaged in the project. In Lernagog community last year 14 new families received cows as pass-on from their co-villagers.
One of the pass-on recipient families is the family of Radik (48) and Manushak (54) Djanibekyan. The couple has three children: the elder son Maksim (26), the daughter Gayane (25) and the youngest son Robert (22). Gayane is married and lives separately with her husband and kids. The sons Maksim and Robert share the work in the garden. During summer Radik and his sons sometimes do seasonal work in the field for others. This gives them an opportunity to earn just a bit more money to support the family during the year. In their small garden the family grows apples, nuts and walnuts.
Every member of the family is responsible for certain work: Maksim and Robert work in the garden , Radik takes care of the cow and its calf, feeds and brushes them, gives them water, cleans the barn and gets hay for them. Manushak is responsible for feeding and taking care of 7 turkeys that they own and for doing the housework.
Radik and Manushak of the family confess that Heifer’s assistance made them more self-reliant. Now they have fresh milk and dairy products which they prepare out of the milk daily.
One can easily notice how caring Manushak and Radik are towards their animals: be it the cow, the calf or the turkeys. They sometimes even talk to their animals.
When Radik and Manushak received the cow they decided to name it Sirun (in Armenian means “pretty”) because the cow is indeed a very nice one. When the cow Sirun was to deliver first time, Radik and Manushak were getting worried a lot. On the very last days when Sirun was to deliver either Manushak or Radik was staying in the barn to make sure that everything is fine with the cow. They seemed to be on duty day and night. When the cow gave birth to a pretty and healthy calf, Manushak and Radik seemed to be in the heaven… They were so happy! Now the calf Burcho is already 4 months old and is extremely addicted to its mom Sirun.
“When after the delivery the cow Sirun was taken to the pasture, an hour later it came back home to its baby calf and started mooing and licking it. It seemed to have missed its calf. And we saw the same scenario every day for about a week or so until the cow got used to stay away from its calf till evening and returned to the barn together with the herd of the community”, Radik told smiling.
“Our cow is so hearty and endearing! It is also very productive: it gives us about 10-12 liters of milk daily. This is a very good indicator”, Manushak was praising her cow. To the question “How do you use the milk?” Manushak answered “I prepare dairy products out of milk. They are very tasty. My grandchildren often visit and stay with us. They adore the cheese with fresh hot lavash (Armenian flat bread) that I bake or milk with a cookie that I prepare again using milk and the butter from our cow’s milk and the eggs from our turkeys”.
“I want to thank to all the people who made this project possible, thanks to all the donors and implementers. The project indeed provides invaluable support and a real helping hand to those who need it. The push that Heifer gave us was all we needed to start our own farm, to be able to generate stable income. I am a simple peasant who values every humane work, every kind word or honest behavior that’s why I cannot help expressing my gratitude to Heifer and to all its donors”, sincerely said Radik and added that he was already getting ready to pass-on a very good animal to another family in 2014!