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Story by Knarine Ghazanchyan \ Program and Training Coordinator \ Heifer Armenia
Translated by Emma Sargsyan | Media Coordinator \ Heifer Armenia
The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do,
something to love and something to hope for…
David John Chalmers
I really respect the family of Anna Ghazaryan, 28, and her husband, Aram Karapetyan, 35.
In 2011, they received a pregnant heifer from Heifer Armenia and the Armenian Missionary Association of America's joint program. Their children — Hasmik, 7, Hayastan, 5, and Hovhannes, 3 — named the cow Nargiz. Before joining the program, the family was having a difficult time. They didn’t have an animal and lacked the money to buy one, despite the fact that both Anna and Aram were working hard. Because milk and dairy products are an important part of children’s diets, the couple had to buy dairy products from its neighbors.
It’s been a year and a half since Nargiz the cow came to the Karapetyan family. Its first calf, Samara, has already become a nice heifer and will be passed on to another family in the community next year. This year Bzho, a bull calf, was born. His color is a bit darker, and he is as nice and clever as his mom and sister. Nargiz’s productivity has further increased with the birth of Bzho. Last year, she gave more than a gallon of very tasty milk each day. Now, she is producing around two gallons per day. Nargiz and Samara go to the pasture, while little Bzho stays at home under Anna’s care. The children love playing with Bzho, and Anna says that he is the children’s living toy — they comb him, feed him, cuddle him or just stay around him all day.
Winter is also the time to receive animal husbandry training, organize various meetings, evaluate the program and prepare for Passing On the Gift ceremonies. The community’s men are most active in planning and executing these activities, because the agricultural work stops until spring.
In all its projects, Heifer strives to provide farmers with resources for sustainable development and create self-reliant families. To accomplish this, we have helping hands — local community leaders and veterinarians. In Aragatsavan, my indispensable assistants are Edgar Pndukyan and a very well-known veterinarian, Hunan Sargsyan.
These are the people standing behind the success of Heifer programs — ordinary smallholder farmers and real professionals!