By Liana Hayrapetyan | Communication and PR Officer, Heifer Armenia
The village of Berqaber, in the Tavush region of Armenia, is on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border where it is often is on the receiving end of the shots of Azeri snipers. All too often, animals die from gunshots, and the houses and other building experience damage. Peasants, like Dilbaryan Grisha and his family, live their daily lives and work in the field or on the farm with the very real fear of being shot.
Grisha, 44, lives with his 39-year-old wife Alvard, his 82-year-old mother Amalya, and two sons, 19-year-old Artsrun and 18-year-old Vardan. Artsrun serves in the army while Vardan finished school this past year.
Last fall, Grisha's family was a Passing on the Gift® recipient of a cow from fellow villager Lernik, Heifer International project participant since 2008 who has personally experienced the loss from sniper fire. His cow was grazing next to a small lake in the village when it was shot by an Azeri sniper. His family went without their favorite cow and their only source of income until becoming involved in the project. Since then, Lernik has established a small family farm and successfully fulfilled his pass-on responsibility, leaving his family with a stable source of income.
Grisha, Lernik's neighbor, was happy to receive a pass-on animal and does his best to take care of his new cow. Although the cow hasn't calved yet, the milk it provides is enough for his family's consumption including the dairy products his wife prepares. The family expects to get even more milk when the cow delivers.
"Heifer's support saved us. I and my wife are not employed. We do grow vegetables in our garden and sell them, but it doesn't make our burden easier. The cow is a real salvation. Its milk and the dairy products prepared from it are very tasty and healthy. Sometimes I send homemade cheese to my son who serves in the army, and he calls and tells that he misses homemade food prepared by his mom," Grisha said.
Both Grisha and his wife are very hard-working. They work in the garden and on the farm day and night. They are working so much to make their family's life different and have already seen results. Their economic condition will improve that much more and become even more stable when their cow calves.
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