Story and Photos by Anna Arakelyan | Business Expert | Development Principles NGO
Translated by Liana Hayrapetyan | Communication and PR Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Veronika, a 14-year-old girl was born in the Berqaber community of the Tavush region of Armenia. Berqaber is a small village located directly between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The house where Veronika and her family live is on the border's edge, where Azeri snipers are easily spotted from their balcony.
Veronika's family and their neighbors are often frightened by the sniper's gunfire. In such dangerous conditions the community continues with daily life; adults work on their farms and in their gardens, do household chores and children attend school.
Veronika received a small grant and started her own small business through the Young Agriculturists Network of Armenia project. When we visited the businesses of all the children who had received grants, the village mayor and local trainers advised us not to risk visiting Veronika's home because it is directly under gunfire.
When she heared this, Veronika became very upset. She had been looking forward to this day for a long time. She wanted to show us the results of her business, the work she devoted herself to and her achievements. Knowing we were advised not to visit her business, sadness covered her face and tears appeared in her tiny blue eyes. Disregarding the danger, we decided to accept Veronika's invitation to see her small business.
"When I learned I would receive a seed grant in the framework of the project, I decided not to wait until I would get the money," Veronika said. "I borrowed some money from our neighbor and started my own poultry farm. Of course, I returned the money when I received the grant. I bought 10 hens, three turkeys and five turkey chicks. I also purchased feed, and the vitamins and medicines necessary for the poultry."
Little by little, Veronika is becoming more skillful in her business. She is proud of her poultry farm and modestly boasts that it has already grown by 25 turkey chicks and 10 chickens due to her diligence, care and patience.
"I love my business. It's not an easy deal; it requires care, attention and a high sense of responsibility," Veronika shared enthusiastically. "I'm sure I'll get good profit from my business when I start selling eggs on the Easter Eve. It's not a secret that eggs have especially high demand at Easter."