Story and Photos by Knarine Ghazanchyan | Program Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Translated by Liana Hayrapetyan | Communication and PR Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
In 2011, Andranik Makoyan and his family received a cow from Heifer Armenia. Previously, they owned only 20 rabbits and generated their main income from horticulture and gardening.
The family of seven lives and works together in Aragatsavan, Armenia. Andranik, 41, and his wife Ninel, 34, have three girls, Taguhi, 18, Heghine, 16, and Kristine, 8, and one son, Varazdat, 15. Andranik's mother, Granny Taguhi, also lives with the family.
They sell alfalfa, barley and fruit to cover expenses. Each year, the family produces about 1,000-1,050 bales of alfalfa hay and around 8,000 pounds of barley. They also harvest about 5,000 pounds of apricots, peaches, apples, cherries and plums. Most is sold, but the rest benefits the family's diet.
Their income has increased each year since receiving their cow—which they named Astgho.
"Our cow is the best," Granny Taguhi said. "We love it. It's the best gift our family has ever received. We take very good care of it. We provide her with quality food we grow ourselves."
Astgho delivered a female calf, which the family named Sirun, meaning beauty. The cow began producing about three gallons of quality milk daily. Since giving birth to her second calf, she produces about four gallons each day.
Granny Taguhi milks Astgho and prepares tasty dairy products from the milk. "It is Heifer's favor that we no longer have to pay for daily milk and other dairy products such as cheese, butter and yogurt."
Granny Taguhi looks forward to Passing on the Gift®. "In a year we are going to pass on our pretty Sirun to another family from our village. We are doing our best to pass on a healthy and well-cared for animal. Let the new owners of Sirun become as happy with this valuable gift as we did two years ago."