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By Emma Sargsyan | Media Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Information Provided by Aram Petrosyan | Program Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Armenia’s Chinari village is about a half mile from the Azerbaijan border. During the war over the Nagorno-Karabagh region from 1991-1994, the village was bombed many times. Now, 20 years after the ceasefire, shootings from the Azeri side have become commonplace for the people of this village to deal with.
Men, women and children live, work and study in this village, constantly under the threat of Azeri snipers. Today the village has 385 families, mostly elderly people, and the main occupation is animal husbandry and horticulture.
Heifer Armenia came to the village in 2008, distributing pregnant heifers and training to 25 families. In 2011 all the families completed their Passing on the Gift® (POG) ceremonies, giving a source of stable nutrition to 25 more families in the village.
The Tserunyans family, one of the POG recipient families, consists of six people: 67-year-old Yurik and his 64-year-old wife Rosa, both pensioners; their son Armen, 39, his wife Hamest, 30, and their two children, 10-year-old Koryun and 4-year-old Narek. Koryun is a schoolboy, Narek is still in kindergarten and the family is expecting its third child soon. Yurik is a blacksmith, and so is his son Armen. Armen also works as an electrician, with a monthly salary of 80,000 Armenian drams, or about $200. It is impossible to support a family of six, with two kids and a pregnant wife, with this tiny salary in Armenia. Heifer’s support was critical for this family.
The Tserunyans are very careful and responsible people. They take very good care of their cow Maral, which gave birth to a bull calf in 2011. In order to complete their POG on time, the family exchanged their bull calf for a female calf.
“Our Maral gives around 8-10 liters (2-2.6 gallons) of milk daily. This, I think, is a good indicator,” Rosa said. “My daughter-in-law and I prepare tasty dairy products from the milk and use them for our consumption. We also have this tiny piece of land that my husband and son cultivate, and from which we receive some fruits and vegetables. Part of it we use for our consumption, the other part we sell to be able to care for daily expenses like to buy clothes and stationery for the kids, among other things.”
Koryun and his brother Armen are big helpers for the family. They love taking care of the calf and the cow, brushing and feeding them. Koryun is very smart; he is doing well in all his classes at school and works very hard. When I asked him what profession would he choose when he grew up, I was indeed surprised, to say the least. He told me he wanted to become a soldier. “I will become a soldier and defend my land and my country, so that no one dares to shoot the peaceful people, and so that no one lives under the fear of a war.”
Let kids like Koryun never know what war is, and let all the people of Chiniari and other border villages live a peaceful life and pave their ways toward self-reliance.