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Story by Aram Petrosyan | Program Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Prepared by Emma Sargsyan | Media Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Photos courtesy of Heifer Armenia

Heifer Armenia came to the Syunik region in 2008 to support needy families here and in adjacent villages, paving their way to a better future. Magda Hovahnnisyan, a woman in her 60s, was one of about 119 Heifer project participant families to receive cows and assistance.

This kind-hearted woman is one of the most beloved people in the village of Tsav, where she has lived for almost half a century. Originally from the neighboring village of Shishkert, she relocated after a huge earthquake shook her village in 1968, destroying all the houses. The inhabitants had no choice but to leave the village, so they re-settled in wooden houses in Tsav. Magda and her sister Alvard had never married, and, in order to cut expenses, Madga invited her sister to live with her in her house.

Magda is one of those people always praised by everyone in the village. She has been a veterinarian here since 1971, and was the only vet for the entire village. Everyone respected and loved her. She is retired now, but still volunteers for the village. The villagers know that whenever something goes wrong with their animals, Magda will be there to help with advice and technical intervention.

The two sisters are pensioners and receive about $80 a month. This is not enough to pay the household bills. Neither Madga nor Alvard have children, so there is no one to take care of them. In a 2011 Passing on the Gift® ceremony, Magda received a cow from her neighbor, which takes care of her and her sister’s need for dairy products. She takes very good care of her cow, and, in turn, the animal gives about 1 ½ gallons of milk a day.

“I don't sell the excess milk," Magda said. "I just give it to the people who need it. I prepare dairy products from the milk of our cow; then the rest I just pass to my neighbors.”

One of Magda’ passions is her small garden, which she enjoys cultivating. Again, she sells nothing, just gives to people who are in need. She has all kinds of plants and trees in the garden, and indeed, no one can just pass by this extremely nice piece of land. What is surprising, perhaps due to the good care taken by Magda or the nice weather in the region, the apple tree blossomed and gave yield in November for the second time in a year.

Kind-hearted and diligent people are a treasure for every society. Magda and her sister are evidence of the truth of this statement.


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Heifer International

Heifer International is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.