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Gift Catalog cow helps carry struggling family through the year

The Harutyunyan family faced crushing poverty until they received a dairy cow through World Vision’s Gift Catalog. Now, the family has income and resources to provide for themselves and even help others.

December 2010



Twin brothers Arthur and Tatul stand with the dairy cow their family received through the World Vision Gift Catalog.
Twin brothers Arthur and Tatul stand with the dairy cow their family received through the World Vision Gift Catalog.
Photo ©2010 Narek Kosyan/World Vision
For a long time, the Harutyunyan children dreaded going to school. Their parents couldn’t afford to buy them school supplies or suitable clothing.

“Neither me, nor my brother, nor our sisters ever had normal shoes, normal clothing, normal writing materials, [or] normal textbooks to attend school,” says Arthur, 10, who has a twin brother in this family of six children in northeastern Armenia.

“Everything was a problem for us. Because of our shabby shoes and worn-out clothing, we were often so ashamed of our appearance.”

‘We could hardly get by’

But the family’s problems weren’t confined to clothing or school supplies. Haykavard, the children’s 36-year-old mother, explains that they depended on a monthly governmental allowance (about U.S. $160), as well as a small pension from her mother-in-law just to survive.

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Donate a share of a dairy cow, or choose another life-changing gift from World Visions Gift Catalog this Christmas.

“Though my husband used to do some odd jobs, and we had a cow, we could hardly get by,” says Haykavard. “The dairy food received from our single cow was never enough for all of my six children. Often I had to escape the hungry glances of my elder daughters and twin sons when I had to feed my still-crawling Arsen with our scarce dairy food.”

To make matters worse, the family lives in an especially difficult part of Armenia. It’s a region that borders Azerbaijan, and though a ceasefire is in place between the two countries, occasional fighting in the area makes farming risky. Plus, the climate is harsh.

“Floods, hails, freezing [temperatures] and non-arable lands don’t allow us to meet our needs through cultivation or gardening,” says Levon, the children’s father.

Story continues after video...

A reason for new hope

In 2009, the Harutyunyans and 10 other families in the region each received a dairy cow, made possible by gifts given through World Vision’s Gift Catalog in the United States. Such a development was enough to make this struggling family rejoice — especially when they learned that their new cow would give birth to a calf.

Two of the younger children, Arman, 8, and Mihran, 6, are thrilled by the birth of the calf.
Two of the younger children, Arman, 8, and Mihran, 6, are thrilled by the birth of the calf.
Photo ©2010 Narek Kosyan/World Vision
“Now that we already have two cows and a calf, each of us has enough dairy food,” says Arthur. “It is not like before, when often our mother had to feed only our youngest brother Arsen because we didn’t have enough milk.”

They also have a solution to their other big challenge. “This year, my parents have promised to sell the calf...in order to buy clothing, shoes, textbooks, and other necessary items for all of us,” says Tatul, Arthur’s twin brother. “Finally, we too can attend school normally, without shame and endless problems.”

‘We can breathe easier’

But the family hasn’t forgotten others in the region, just like them, who face many of the same struggles.

“Sometimes, we even manage to share some of our milk with the needy children of our neighbors,” says Levon. “Yes, don’t be surprised! How is that World Vision could assist us, and we can’t do the same [for] our neighbors?”

It’s a sentiment befitting the Christmas season from a family genuinely grateful for the help they’ve received through a simple but meaningful gift: “God bless — we can breathe easier for at least a year.”


Learn more


>> Follow our True Spirit of Christmas Tour on Facebook and hear more stories of how lives have been changed through gifts from the World Vision Gift Catalog.

Four ways you can help

>> Pray for families around the world who are struggling with poverty this Christmas season. Pray that, like the Harutyunyans, they might find peace and joy in the generosity of others, which represents the true spirit of this most sacred holiday.
>> Give a gift in the name of a loved one this Christmas. World Vision’s Gift Catalog offers more than 100 unique gifts to help create hope and a better future for a child, family, or community in need.
>> Log on to Facebook and visit our Stars of Hope application. You can post a prayer for children in need and symbolize it by adding a star to the night sky.
>> Sponsor a child in Armenia. Your love and support for a boy or girl in need will help provide basics like nutritious food, clean water, medical care, education, and safe shelter. Change a child’s life, while changing your own this Christmas season.

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Learn more

Follow our True Spirit of Christmas Tour on Facebook and hear more stories of how lives have been changed through gifts from the World Vision Gift Catalog.

Four ways you can help

Pray for families around the world who are struggling with poverty this Christmas season. Pray that, like the Harutyunyans, they might find peace and joy in the generosity of others, which represents the true spirit of this most sacred holiday.
- -

Give a gift in the name of a loved one this Christmas. World Vision’s Gift Catalog offers more than 100 unique gifts to help create hope and a better future for a child, family, or community in need.
- -
Log on to Facebook and visit our Stars of Hope application. You can post a prayer for children in need and symbolize it by adding a star to the night sky.
- -
Sponsor a child in Armenia. Your love and support for a boy or girl in need will help provide basics like nutritious food, clean water, medical care, education, and safe shelter. Change a child’s life, while changing your own this Christmas season.

 





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