Story and Photos by Aram Petrosyan | Program Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Translated by Liana Hayrapetyan | Communication and PR Coordinator | Heifer Armenia

Irina Dallaqyan, 37, lives in Spitak, Lori region of Armenia. She is a widow and a mother of three sons: Vladimir, 19, and Robert, 17, who study at the local college of auto mechanics, and 16-year-old Arayik who still attends school.

In 1988 an earthquake took almost everything the family possessed, and Irina and her sons became homeless. Fortunately, Italian humanitarian aid provided the family with a temporary shelter, which has since become their permanent home.

Irina worked as a dairy maid in the Spitak Farmers Association for several years, but about five years ago began working as a dairy maid in the neighboring village of Lernantsq. Her monthly salary is 60,000 Armenian drams, or about $140, which is not enough to meet her family's needs.

Through a neighbor, Irina heard about the Agricultural Development Project in Spitak and Lernantsk Communities in cooperation with Heifer Armenia and the Spitak Farmers Association. She made a request to become a recipient in the next Passing on the Gift® (POG) ceremony.

"I received two pigs from the project," Irina shared. "Because my family lives in a temporary shelter, we have no barn. Spitak Farmers Association enabled me to join other farmers engaged in the project to keep my animals together with them. The members of the association share the work and income generated from the joint farming. One of my pigs delivered eight piglets, and the other delivered nine. I sold 10 piglets out of 17 and generated 180,000 Armenian drams (about $430). The money I saved from the sales of the piglets was directed to purchase feed for the animals. The rest, seven piglets, I kept to enlarge my farm."

As a member of the association, Irina is responsible for peeling potatoes for the pigs, sorting corn and cleaning the barn. She is thankful for the support of Heifer Armenia and the Spitak Farmers Association. Irina looks forward to the success of raising more animals and building a larger farm.

Learn how you can help farmers in Armenia.

Author

Heifer International

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