During the month of October, we will be highlighting Heifer's work to empower women in a series we're calling the Power of WE. The series began October 4, and many of our posts will focus on women who are becoming entrepreneurs or leaders in their own right.
Some people radiate confidence and optimism when they communicate with others. They are open-hearted with a friendly, easygoing disposition and possess a sincere willingness to help. Combine these characteristics with the qualities of a skillful specialist and you have a true leader—someone whom others find easy to love and respect.
Alina Markosyan is one such leader. She lives in Shirakamut, a village in the Lori region of Armenia. At 48, Alina is a skillful veterinarian and leader of the Agricultural Production and Youth Development to Build Sustainable Livelihoods in Shirakamut Village project, a partnership project between Heifer Armenia and the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA).
Alina has been a widow for many years. When her husband died, she was left to support their four young sons on her own. This tested her resilience and forced her to find creative solutions to life’s challenges. Alina’s sons are older now. Two serve their country in the Armenian Army, and two live at home and work on the family farm.
In the fall of 2010, the Heifer and AMAA project began in Shirakamut. The members unanimously elected Alina to be their leader. The community continues to have great confidence in their favorite veterinarian, trusting her to guide them through the project as they improve life for their families in countless ways.
She is vital to her fellow project members. Alina regularly visits neighboring farms to examine livestock, administer vaccinations and advise residents on the proper care and feeding of their animals. This has been especially useful for families with pregnant cows. She expertly guides each family through a healthy pregnancy, safe delivery and subsequent care of the newborn calf.
Three years have passed, and time has proven that the people of Shirakamut made an excellent choice when they elected Alina as their project leader. They always see her working incredibly hard for the well-being of the community. Alina is extremely popular among her village peers and is routinely greeted with gratitude and respect.
Aside from being a skilled veterinarian and successful farmer, Alina is a wonderful person. She is empowered. She is an entrepreneur. Her admirable qualities are of great value to all those she supports and knows. Alina shines brightly wherever she goes. It’s easy to see why everyone who knows her appreciates her. Indeed, her determined devotion to making life better for her family, for her community, and for her country is changing the world.
Help empower a woman today.
Story and photos by Knarine Ghazanchyan, Program Coordinator, Heifer Armenia
Translated by Liana Hayrapetyan, Communication and Public Relations Coordinator, Armenia