Story by Knarine Ghazanchyan | Program Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Photos courtesy of Heifer Armenia
With the support from the Armenia Missionary Association of America (AMAA) and Heifer Armenia, 14 families received pregnant heifers in the Stepanavan community. The joint project aims to better the social and economic situations of the Lori region in Armenia.
Hasmik Papyan's family was harshly affected by the devastating earthquake of 1988 and, until now, has lived in a small wagon-house. Hasmik, 45, raised her two sons, Rafael and Arshak, along with her nephews, Samvel and Manvel, after her sister left for the capital city of Yerevan many years ago. Hasmik's sister has not been heard from since.
Everyone helps develop the small family farm of two pigs and 20 hens. Even 14-year-old Arshak feeds and waters the animals when he gets home from school. An active member of AMAA, Arshak participated in the Netherlands youth gathering, which was surely a great experience for this rural youngster.
In December, Hasmik received a pregnant cow named Olya from AMAA and Heifer Armenia. In less than a month Olya gave birth to a calf the family named Masha. Since Olya provides the family with an average of two to three gallons a day, Hasmik no longer has to buy milk from her neighbors.
Curds, cheese and matzoun, which is fermented cow's milk, were added to the family's diet. The whole family was happy, especially the boys, who are very fond of dairy products. An illness made Hasmik unable to milk Olya, but she is thankful for the help and support of her sons and nephews.
Hasmik's kind heart and diligence has not escaped the attention of AMAA and Heifer as she continues to work toward self-reliance. Hasmik said she is grateful and has applied to become a part of the Stepanavan Agricultural Community. Through Heifer training and meetings she hopes to gain new skills and knowledge to better herself and her family.