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Story and Photos by Knarine Ghazanchyan | Program Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Translated by Liana Hayrapetyan | Communication and PR Coordinator | Heifer Armenia

Zhora Mikayelyan with his calf Alash

The gift of a cow was very valuable to the Mikayelyan family, but that is not all. Their project's trainings have made their farm more efficient and productive, which adds more income and better nutrition.

The Mikayelyans, participants in Heifer Armenia’s Milk for Money project, were very happy to receive a pregnant heifer.

Three generations of this family live under one roof and work on the farm, including 58-year-old Samvel, his 33-year-old son Zhora and 30-year-old daughter-in-law Arpine, as well as 3-year-old Samvel, named after his grandpa. In addition to working on the small farm, Samvel and Zhora grow potatoes. But they were missing owning a cow.

Years ago, they had a cow to provide much needed dairy nutrition. Granny Vardush took care of the cow, milking and feeding it, before she passed away. After her death, the cow gave very little milk, refused to eat and seemed to be depressed by Granny’s absence. The family had no other choice but to slaughter it. Since then they had not been able to buy another cow.

Samvel, Zhora and Arpine (pictured here) and Zhora's father Samvel, prepared for their new cow far in advance.

The family prepared for their new cow far in advance, storing 150 bales of hay, renovating the barn, naming it, and sowing barley and alfalfa. They even had a name for the cow before its arrival: Djeyran, which means deer.

Thanks to Heifer and the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD), partners on this project, the Mikayelyan’s barn is full of mooing and warmth again. The cow has already delivered a calf, which young Samvel named Alash.

The family takes good care of Djeyran and Alash and are grateful for fresh, tasty milk and other dairy products that can now be made. These products, rich in calcium and protein, are especially important for the growing boy, Samvel.

Things are looking up for the Mikayelyans.

“This year we are expecting a very good harvest," Zhora said. "We have had a snowy winter and a rainy spring…the greenery is lush. I’m sure we’re going to have an excellent harvest of potatoes.”

Samvel added, “If the weather continues to be good, the harvest of alfalfa and barley will also be good; we can already see the plants growing.”

“The cow we received is a very valuable gift for us,” Zhora said. “This project is incredibly useful?it not only provides livestock to the needy families, but also teaches them how to effectively run the farm, grow crops and increase the animals’ productivity through good care and artificial insemination.”

A good harvest, a productive cow, and the trainings provided by the project are definitely making an impact.


Change lives in Armenia.


Heifer International

Heifer International is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.