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Givi Kobiashvili, together with his wife and nine children, lived in the village of Lars, North Ossetia, Russian Federation. He had his own sheep breeding small-scale farm and worked hard to keep his large family well. His spouse, Darejan Kobiashvili, took care of their house and kids. The family lived happily unexpecting that soon they would be forced to leave their beautiful village. After the Soviet Union had collapsed, the Ossetians started seizing the village, oppressing the Georgian population, robbing and taking them hostage, stealing and killing their livestock.
Soon the Kobiashvili family, like other Georgian families, was left without cattle and any means of living. All their livestock was stolen and the house partly broken down. The situation got more unbearable as the winter came. Cold weather and snow worsened the difficult economical and moral situation of the family. Givi decided to leave his house, cross the border and migrate to the Kanobi village of Georgia, his motherland. “It was the hardest winter in my life,” says Givi. I thought that God had left me, and I reached a standstill. But my relatives helped me. One of them sheltered us in his small house, another helped to procure a cow and a small sheep herd. All the villagers, not very rich themselves, were trying to constantly support us. Day by day, the situation was getting better and better.
All members of the family were involved in their farm work. All was going well and the children grew up with enough milk and milk products. The family had a small income from selling lambs, however, Givi was depressed as this income was enough only for rational nutrition and first aid. His eldest daughter, Tamuna, showed interest and aptitude in veterinary science since childhood. Givi thought of giving his daughter the chance to enter college and receive training in veterinary and farm management. But tuition was too high for this indigent family, which went through fear and devastation. Givi decided to sell his cow in order to cover the tuition. It was a courageous decision since it could affect the family’s livelihood. On one hand, it might return the family to poverty, but on the other hand, he thought of his smart daughter who yearned for studying and needed support from her parents. In addition to this problem, Givi worried of his oldest son, George, who got married and had to support his family separately.
At that time the Heifer program had just started its activities in the Kanobi village. The Kazbegi Farmers’ Association leadership was headed by its chairman Davit Tamazishvili, a qualified manager with many years of partnership experience with Heifer International, which was in process of selecting participants adequate for the Heifer program. Givi Kobiashvili, having a very slight hope for the assistance from outside, applied with the association for participation. He was confident that one additional cow would solve his problem and give him an additional income that would help cover education costs. After a baseline study of the situation and considering Givi’s experiences in cattle-breeding, observing the appropriate barn conditions and family members’ diligence and hard work, the association leaders together with Heifer Georgia staff, decided to comply with Givi Kobiashvili’s request and gift him a pregnant heifer. In addition to this gift of a cow from Heifer, it was decided to give one additional heifer to Givi’s eldest son, George, who got married and had to support his own young family by himself. At present, both Heifer cows have delivered healthy calves. The cow of Givi Kobiashvili gives 200-300 liters of milk per month; it’s a high index for a high-mountainous local breed. Milk is basically sold at the Kazbegi and Gudauri resort markets and income is used for covering tuition for Tamuna. Milk received from the cow of George Kobiashvili is basically used for self consumption; it is especially useful for his recently born baby.
“Heifer’s help was like a drop of water in a burning desert,” says Givi Kobiashvili. "After our depart from Russia to Georgia, I had to start a new life. My relatives, as well as all Kanobi villagers, were constantly supporting me, however, I felt uncomfortable. I was planning to purchase an additional cow by myself, but having nine children, it was impossible to do. I actually couldn’t imagine that there are people in the world, besides my relatives, who can help me. You know, due to very severe climatic conditions, for eight months we are alienated from the world, no other humanitarian organization wishes to work here. People here are used to surviving by themselves. After meeting with Heifer Georgia staff, I realized that Heifer is an exceptional organization with a unique approach, helping people who really need it. It’s great that soon I will be able to help another family in need and pass on the offspring of my cow. I am very happy for that. Thank you very much for giving hope for a better future."
"My daughter will prove our joint efforts and study hard. I hope that she will become a qualified veterinarian, maybe the best in the community! I also would like to thank you on behalf of my married son, George, and his family for giving them a source for living. First the newly wed couple was very short in cash, and there were many things to worry about and a lot of problems to be settled. They needed assistance because they expected a baby. Unfortunately, we, as the parents, could not afford to support the young family. Now I can breathe with relief knowing that their baby will sleep quietly and has enough milk. You did a miracle, thank you so much!”