Story and Photos by Knarine Ghazanchyan | Project Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Translated by Liana Hayrapetyan | Communication and PR Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Anahit stands with her calf, Dzyunik.
Ten people—representing four generations of the Hakobyan family—live together in love and harmony in the village of Azatan, Armenia. Their community is engaged in Heifer Armenia’s Milk for Money project.
Samvel and Anahit, husband and wife, have four children: Aram, 27, Hermine, 26, Hrispsime, 24, and Hakob, 18. Aram, the eldest son, is married to Sirush, also 27, and has two children: 5-year-old Samvel, named after his grandpa, and 2-year-old Tsolak. The “boss” of the family is 83-year-old Grandpa Hakob, who is retired but still responsible for many things at home. Samvel and Aram are electricians. They love their work and are skillful in it. Anahit is an unemployed teacher.
They have a small poultry farm of 30 hens and are engaged in horticulture. Last year they harvested about 4.5 tons of barley, three tons of wheat, 100 bales of alfalfa and about 1,320 pounds of vegetables for the family.
Anahit and her grandson, Samvel, with the family's calf.
Before joining the project, which is implemented by partners Heifer Armenia and the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD), the family had no livestock. Their expenses were so costly that they were never able to save enough money to buy a cow.
The happy day came in the fall of 2012. The cow, Yeghso, and its calf, born a few months later, became members of the family. The children named the light-skinned calf Dzyunik, which means snowflake in Armenian.
Every evening at milking time, the children are the first to run to the barn to watch their granny milk Yeghso. They would be there during the morning milking, too, but are still asleep at such an early hour. The family gets an average of about three gallons of fresh, tasty milk daily. Anahit prepares sour cream and cheese, which the children adore. Little Samvel likes when the calf licks his hand when he tries to caress its head.
The efficiency of this partnership project is evident. Everybody in Azatan talks about the success of the project and the valuable assistance the participants have received. Many others in the community, who are not yet beneficiaries, are interested in becoming participants in the Passing on the Gift®.
The people of Azatan understand the importance of owning livestock and strive to have at least one cow, which will become a stable source of nutrition and income for their family.