My name is Zhenya. I am from Kirants community of Armenia. I am 14. I attend the Heifer youth club in our village. In 2012, I developed a business plan that was approved by Heifer Armenia, and I received a small youth grant to realize my business plan. Heifer gave me 40,000 Armenian drams (about $100) as a youth business start-up.
I bought nine hens and one turkey with 31,000 Armenian drams (about $76) and started a small poultry farm. With the rest of the money, I bought feed, medicine and vitamins for my poultry. At the beginning I got average four eggs daily. I sold the eggs to my neighbors in the village. In three months, I managed to save 18,000 Armenian drams (about $44) from the sales of the eggs.
This money was used to purchase two more turkeys. My three turkeys laid eggs and, as a result, 26 little turkeys were born. I continue to save up from the sales of the eggs to purchase feed and more poultry to enlarge my small farm. Part of the fresh eggs that my hens lay is consumed by our family. In the summer period, my income increases because, at that time, the poultry lays more.
I love my small business. I take very good care of my hens, turkeys and their baby chicks. When I approach them with the feed, they gather around me, start cackling, and wait for the feed. I have a little secret in my business: during any season, whether the prices of the eggs are up or down, I always sell the eggs to my customers for the same price–50 Armenian drams (about 12 cents). This enables me to have loyal customers and get regular income. I do my business with great pleasure.
I have a dream to increase my farm little by little and become the largest poultry farmer in our community.
Editor's note:This is an interview with Zhenya Avalyan from Kirants Community, Armenia, conducted by Anna Arakelyan, a business education expert from Development Principles NGO, a project partner of Heifer Armenia. Photo taken by Anna Arakelyan.