By Knarine Ghazanchyan | Program and Training Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Translated from Russian
The grass isn't greener on the other side; the grass
isnt greener on your side. It's greener where you water it.
-a wise saying
Heifer Armenia and the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) joined forces to give 40 families pregnant heifers, one per family, through the Milk for Money project in 2012. Thanks to effective bidding and successful negotiations, which allowed us to purchase the heifers under market price, we were able to provide 49 families with cows. Armen Djaginyan, Suren Vardanyan and Vardan Papoyan, veterinarians who are well-known beyond their hometowns, helped us get a great deal.
Through the program, these 49 families from Stepanavan in the Lori region, Sarnkunq in the Syunik region, and Azatan in the Shirak region will be able to pave their own way toward financial stability.
Varuzhan and Mariam Abovyan, with their two children, 15-year-old Sergey and 14-year-old Suzanna, participated in the Milk for Money project in Stepanavan. Mariam married Varuzhan after completing secondary school and is a housewife. Varuzhan is a "jack of all trades." He works as a mechanic in the local gold mine, but he can also make furniture, fix the electricity, or renovate a house. Everything in the family's home is handmade. The tablecloths, curtains and other decorations are Mariams work, and everything related to home renovation, such as painted walls, repaired flooring and hand-crafted furniture, was done by Varuzhan. Following their parents' example, Sergey and Suzanna are learning to create things and care for their home, too.
The family has a small garden full of flowers and trees, which they take very good care of. Before the project, they had a calf and five chickens, which their grandfather gave them. Knowing how important dairy products are for their growing children, the couple used to travel several miles to the village of Pushkino to get milk from their parents or buy it from other farmers. The prospect of giving up the long trips for milk was a great motivator for them to apply to become Heifer project participants. They were pleasantly surprised when the time between the first community meeting, family assessment, and, finally, receiving their new cow, was less than 10 days.
This was just like a fairy tale, said Mariam.
They named the heifer "Jeyran" and interviewed its former owners to learn more about the animal.
Jeyran will give birth in February," Mariam said. "Still, she gives around two liters (about a half-gallon) of milk daily, which is a great help for us now. I will probably stop milking her starting mid-December, so the calf will be safely delivered.
Seeing people happy and realizing that you contributed to it is an indispensable feeling for us.