Heifer Helps Keep Families Together
Chinari Cattle Breeding Project #27-0245-01
The village of Chinari is the most remote settlement in the district of Berd, located in the eastern part of Tavush Marz. Chinari shares a 28 kilometer border with the nation of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is just a few meters from Chinari, but due to frequent attacks from Azeri snipers, it’s a short walk that has cost many their lives.
Chinari is considered to be a very early human settlement, but the village is only officially registered to be 113 years old. The 12th century Khoranashat Monastery lies in the upper outskirts of the village — the most sniper-prone zone in the area. Despite the danger, the residents of Chinari continue to attend the church. The farm lands in the upper reaches of the village are only partially cultivated because they are within shooting range of the Azeri snipers.
The Julhakyan family has been living in Chinari for many years, and is constantly in fear of the Azeri snipers. Satenik and Onik Julhakyan, a hard-working couple and parents of two sons, did their best to support their family. But during their last years, their living conditions became almost unbearable. To help support their families, Satenik and Onik’s sons Alexan and Ashot took their wives and children and left their native village of Chinari to seek work and better living conditions. Satenik and Onik refused to move from their native land; they wanted to live the last years of their life in their homeland.
Satenik and Onik had mixed emotions regarding their children’s decision to move away. They were happy because they believed that their children could live a better life and escape extreme poverty. More importantly, they would be a safe distance from the Azeri snipers. On the other hand, the parents were sad to be alone and missed their children and grandchildren very dearly.
The only source of income for Satenik and Onik was the small garden in front of their old house and 10 hens that laid fresh eggs for them. Fortunately, in the fall of 2011 Satenik and Onik became Heifer Armenia's project participants and received a pregnant Pass-on heifer. Three months ago, their heifer delivered a pretty female calf. Satenik and Onik are hospitable and diligent people who love their native land and merely want an opportunity to work and prosper. They take very good care of their cow and its calf. Satenik is also able to prepare cheese, curds and butter from the cow's milk.
This spring, Alexan and Ashot learned that Heifer provided an opportunity to their parents to work and earn a living so they decided to return to their homeland. They missed their parents, relatives, friends and their native village while they were away. Now they are thrilled to be home, and to have the opportunity to work and support their families.
“I’m happy that now we have a cow which gives fresh milk to my children. Now we have a start to work and create more. Heifer’s assistance encouraged us to return home and strive for the better. In fact, Heifer gave us not only support but also hope for a better future,” Alexan said.
We are happy to say that the Julhakyan family has been reunited. This story is an example of how Heifer not only provides a source of income to rural families, but also reduces migration. Heifer keeps families united and provides them with the opportunity to start generating income and become self-reliant.
Story by: Liana Hayrapetyan,
Communication and PR Officer,
Photos by: Aram Petrosyan,