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Submitted bLiana Hayrapetyan,  Communication and PR Officer,
Heifer Armenia

In the years leading up to the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Poghosyan family was one of the friendliest and hardest working families in the village of Nerqin Hand in the Syunik region of Armenia. Arkadi Poghosyan was doing his best to support his family. Every evening when he came home from work, his children ran happily to him. 

Every evening the family all gathered together and enjoyed their supper in a warm and friendly atmosphere around the fireplace in winter and in the open-air balcony in summer.

The Poghosyans were very happy. Respect, love and mutual understanding were reigning in every corner of their house. They couldn’t even guess what fate had prepared for them.

It was a cold winter morning when the grievous news spread all over the village: Arkadi had been killed in the war.

The heavy burden of the family fell to Arkadi’s wife, Anush. She had to support her four children and her father-in-law. Arkadi’s eldest son, Vardan, was 16 then. He understood that it was very hard for his mother to carry the family burden alone; he knew that he was to help the family overcome the difficulties. It was indeed hard for young Vardan to work in the barn, in the garden and in the field, as he even did not know how to use a scythe.

The grandfather insisted on giving up livestock farming as he was too old to help Anush and Vardan. On the other hand, Vardan was too young to run the farm alone and Anush could not manage to do it together with the daily housework and children's care.

Though the war had ended, many Armenians were suffering from post-war hunger and poverty. Only one cow was left to feed and support the family.

Vardan grew up, served in the army, and took the responsibility as breadwinner of the family. He had a vision in his mind, to have a happy and large family as once they used to have when his father was still alive. Soon he married Hermine, a beautiful young lady from the neighboring village, and they became parents of two wonderful children.

Vardan was doing his best to support his family of seven. When Heifer Armenia started a program in Nerqin Hand, Vardan's family was on the list of future project participants. In November 2008 the Poghosyans received a cow from Heifer Armenia.

Now Vardan's children, Aren, 4, and Arkadi, 5 months, have fresh milk and other dairy products every day. The family sometimes sells some of the milk to buy other products. Their cow has given birth to two calves, one male and one female.

Vardan's vision of an ideal family has become reality. Now the Poghosyans live a happy and carefree life as they did once many years ago. They enjoy wonderful sunny mornings in the summer and warm and cheerful evenings in the winter in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot tasty tea prepared with mint and other herbs gathered from the Syunik fields and mountains.


Annie Bergman

Annie Bergman is a Global Communications Manager and helps plan, assign and develop content for the nonprofit’s website, magazine and blog. Bergman has interviewed survivors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, beekeepers in Honduras, women’s groups in India and war widows in Kosovo, among many others in her six years at Heifer.