Armenia

Hope for the Future

“May God bless everyone from UMCOR and the FRB community who have helped disadvantaged families in Armenia have a vision for the future, sharpen their skills, and strengthen their food security.” So says the staff of local partner UMCOR Armenia Foundation (UAF) as the program comes to a close. “Witnessing the progress of the program fills our hearts with joy as we observe results and the positive changes in the lives of our participants.”

Samvel, head of a household of five, says, “You’ve made it possible for me to realize my longstanding dream of having a sheep farm. When my mother got sick a couple of years ago, I sold my last cow to be able to care for her. After that, misfortunes followed one after another, and we were so unhappy. Thanks to the program, I now have three sheep and two lambs on my farm. I even envision doubling and tripling my flock in the near future, since the ewes are pregnant. My wife has received nutrition training as well, and our meals have more variety. She knows how to make cheese and sour cream, and we sell some of our dairy products to take care of our debts. What you’ve given us is a way to make a living, and hope.  Thank you.”

UAF staff says the effects of the support and encouragement given to marginalized families in remote villages will live on. Pass-on-the-gift practices have made beehives, chickens, and sheep available to additional families to improve their nutrition and have a source of income to take care of a variety of expenses. The entire community benefits from the availability of eggs, meat, dairy, wool, and honey, and relieves people of having to make long trips into towns for supplies.  Training and follow-up have ensured that farmers know how to care for their animals for continued success.

“Words are not enough for expressing gratitude on behalf of all these families,” says Norayr, a representative of one community whose futures have changed because of the program.

Caption: Chickens improve lives like Alvina’s

Armenia FHSLD Program
Led by United Methodist Committee on Relief and UMCOR Armenia Foundation
3 communities, 156 households, 352 individuals

 

04/06/2018 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

"Pass on the Gift" Provide Families with Nutrition and Income


In remote Armenian mountain villages, employment opportunities are hard to come by and life is a challenge.  Gifts of chickens, lambs and beehives passed from one neighbor to the next mean nutrition and income for hungry and poor families.

Uncle Jahan, who cares for his disabled wife and carries out all house and garden chores, has worked hard all his life.  He saw low yields due to the harsh climate, depleted soil and lack of seeds. He was delighted to receive four beehives from a neighbor, and expects a good honey harvest this year. The lime blossom honey cheers and nourishes his wife, and the income from honey sales allows them to move beyond subsistence to hoping and dreaming again. Jahan also joined a training event on healthy meals intended for community women. “Why not?” he smiled. “I do all the cooking.”

A younger villager, Shoger, supports her family of three as well as her disabled brother and his three children. Thanks to the 15 chickens and a rooster she received, she now has 10-12 eggs a day.  Shoger says, “For a mother, the most desirable thing is to have healthy children and provide proper meals. These chickens are one of the best things that ever happened in my life. My thanks to all the wonderful and kind people living in the U.S. who have thought about us so far away.”

Photo caption: Children help deliver chicks

Armenia FHSLD Program
Led by United Methodist Committee on Relief
3 communities, 156, households, 352 individuals

12/11/2017 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Ruben’s Tree: In Armenia, a hopeful, caring gesture symbolizes FRB’s mission

How many of us even notice roadside vegetation, let alone stop and think how it got there? A lone maple tree on the road between Yerevan and Shirak Province in Armenia has a heartwarming history. How it survived in the harsh, dry climate has a parallel with the slow but steady work of ag development, and the nurturing inherent in all of Foods Resource Bank’s food security programming overseas.

A number of years ago, thousands of trees were planted along the roads in Armenia with the goal of revitalizing neglected and isolated communities

03/24/2016 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Getting Ready for the Harsh Winter in Armenia

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Participants in FRB’s Armenia-Shirak program are benefiting from their sheep in a way most Americans would not think of. Winter temperatures in Shirak Province – remote and mountainous and the coldest area in the country – can plummet to minus 30 degrees F. Families spend much of the year getting ready for this long and severe season. They preserve food by the gallon and keep it in storage for winter, and buy or collect wood in advance. If they have sheep, however, they can use the manure for heating their houses.

The two program communities have received aid and assistance from many sectors since the devastating 1988 earthquake but continue to experience poverty, food insecurity, and shrinking numbers as men and entire families emigrate for work. Armenia-Shirak’s developmental approach takes in the high level of social solidarity

11/22/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Beehives bring new opportunities to children in Armenia

Bees and their honey are a cornerstone of the progress of FRB’s Armenia FHSLD program. Beekeeping has been added as part of a farming operation in the local children's center which is bringing benefits, not only in nutrition but in training for life skills and teamwork. 

08/16/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Farmer-to-Farmer in Armenia

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Fremont, Michigan, is a small town with a big project. Fourteen years ago, a few farmers and their local churches started a Growing Project with Foods Resource Bank (FRB). That is, they agreed to combine resources, donate a share of their crops, and raise money to help disadvantaged farmers in other parts of the world. Since then, their project has expanded to involve 20 farmers, 10 churches, several local businesses, and many individuals and organizations.

Gloria Switzer, the leader of a local peace and justice group, is proud to be part of the Fremont Growing Project. “FRB is carrying out its mission of ensuring that food is a human right for all persons,” she writes.

Switzer has traveled with FRB to several countries, including Armenia,

03/13/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Highlights and Lessons Learned on an FRB Trip

There are so many highlights and lessons learned in an FRB trip but here are a few from my recent experience in Africa and Armenia:

11/08/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More
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