One-year-olds Ani, Anna and Mher are vigorously playing on the carpet while their mom, Hermine Stepanyan, 34, prepares their bottles. The triplets were born May 12, 2017.

Hermine and her husband, Slavik, 39, already have two sons at home, nine-year-old Avet, and eight-year-old Gegham. It was a shock to hear the news that they were having triplets.

“We had a scan in Talin and it revealed that I was having twins. I had wanted a girl so much, so we traveled to Yerevan to be sure about the sexes. Then we were in for the surprise of our lives when the doctors told us we were actually expecting triplets!” said Hermine with a beaming smile. “It was shocking, exciting and scary at the same time.”

Hermine got her wish and now has two daughters with Ani and Anna. When the trio was born prematurely, the babies were treated in the neonatal intensive care unit for 45 days.

Ashtarak, the small village where the family lives in Aragatsotn Province, is lacking in nearly everything, including job opportunity, decent food and housing conditions. Slavik is a contracted serviceman for the Armenian Army who earns a monthly salary of about $200. They also receive a state benefit of $90, along with Slavik’s grandma’s stipend of $50. Since the family couldn’t afford powder milk for all three babies, they had no choice but to give them cow’s milk, which resulted in health problems like low hemoglobin levels and occasional constipation. (Hermine had been unable to breastfeed the babies due to their time in intensive care.)

The doctors from the provincial hospital who are treating the triplets told Hermine about FAR’s Child Poverty Reduction Program. FAR’s Health Programs department cooperates with Aragatsotn Province’s Health Department to receive information on families in need. This was how Hermine was provided with Human 1 dry milk for the trio; she will receive at least 23 packages per month.

“I was so happy to receive the dry milk. It’s the most important thing for the moment and the kids are much better now,” Hermine said.