Story and Photos by Knarine Ghazanchyan | Program Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Translated by Liana Hayrapetyan | Communication and PR Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Haykush, a fragile woman of 43, is very optimistic about her family’s future. She is sure that the push from Heifer International will serve as a firm base to build a sustainable and poverty-free future.
The optimism and energy displayed by this woman are admirable. She is happy about simple things, attentive to everything, extremely caring toward the people around her, and hardworking.
Haykush and her husband Mayis live in Armenia’s Sarnakunq village and are parents to three children. Their two boys, Gevork and Ashot, live with them and help run their small farm. Their eldest, Meri, lives on her own with her husband and son.
The family grows potatoes, green beans, bell peppers, garlic and onions, and apple and cherry trees in their garden. They also grow barley and alfalfa, yielding about 1,500 bales of hay a year, which Mayis sells for income.
Before joining the Heifer project, the family had no livestock. Haykush dreamed for many years of owning a milking cow. As soon as she learned Heifer was starting the Milk for Money project in her community, she wanted to get involved.
Now, they are project participants and have a cow and a calf.
They received a pregnant heifer from the project, and it soon delivered a female calf, which the boys named Chalka. The birth of the calf increased the cow’s milk quantity enough that Haykush could prepare cheese, butter and sour cream for the family.
Everyone takes good care of the cows. In the mornings when Mayis sends the cow to the pasture, it looks back to Chalka and moos, as if asking Haykush to care for her calf until its return. Haykush obliges, keeping the barn clean in addition to brushing, feeding and watering the calf-even talking to it.
Haykush values not only the project inputs such as the cow and trainings, but also the time with veterinarians, experts and project coordinators. She is the type of person who thinks it’s never too late to learn from others, irrespective of age or position, and she takes full advantage.
The presence of a good milking cow in her barn, a healthy growing calf, an increase in the family’s food quality and quantity, and the knowledge and skills she and her husband have gained through trainings organized by Heifer justify Haykush’s confidence in a good future.