Story and Photos by Anna Arakelyan | Business Education Expert | Development Principles NGO
Translated by Liana Hayrapetyan | Communication and PR Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
“I can’t find words to describe my happiness when the first lamb was born. It was a cute, healthy lamb. I love it very much. Every morning when the sheep goes to the pasture I take the lamb to the nearest field to graze. I release it there and it starts to frolic with joy and play with me. Then I take it back home, feed it and give it some water.”
Aramayis Avalyan, a 12-year-old from the Kirants community in Tavush region of Armenia, is a member of the business direction (area of study) of the YES! Youth Club established by Heifer Armenia and Development Principles NGO. In 2012, Aramayis developed a business plan through the youth club to start a sheep farm. His plan was approved by Heifer Armenia and he received a grant of 40,000 Armenian drams, or about $100, to start his small business.
Aramayis purchased one ewe, a mature female sheep, for 35,000 Armenian drams, or about $85, and medicine for 5,000 Armenian drams, or about $15. Aramayis’ father gave him additional money to buy feed for the sheep.
Several months later, the ewe delivered a lamb. The ewe gives about 1 ½ gallons of milk daily; the rest is left for the lamb. Aramayis stores the milk in the fridge and his mother prepares cheese from it. From May to September of 2012, the boy sold about 11 pounds of cheese and generated an income of 10,000 Armenian drams, or about $25. In October, Aramayis sold the lamb for 40,000 Armenian drams, or about $100.
In January, the sheep delivered a second lamb. Aramayis and his mom again prepared cheese to sell, this time generating 8,000 Armenian drams, or about $20.
This young boy’s business, though small, is successful. His total income to date is 18,000 Armenian drams, or about $45, from cheese sales, and 40,000 Armenian drams, or about $100, from the sale of the first lamb. The ewe remains with him, and continues to give milk. She will deliver lambs in the future, as well. Aramayis is raising the second lamb for Passing on the Gift® to another member of the club.