Within the walls of a small and nearly collapsed house lives a family of four – 33-year-old Anahit Aghajanyan and her three children Mariam, 14, Mikael, 9, and Sargis, 5. Despite frequent upheavals in their lives, Anahit has kept the family in a true balance of peace and happiness.

“Mom, shall I help you with dinner or the garden?” calls Mariam and runs to Anahit. “First dinner, then the garden,” says Anahit with pride and delight and tells us, “Yes, Mariam is my little right hand in the household. She always helps me and I’m happy about that.”

The Aghajanyans live in a gorgeous village called Shaki, in the Syunik Region. “It’s a nice place to be and to enjoy the beauty of nature in many forms,” says Anahit. “However, I stopped enjoying the beauty when some dark, menacing clouds accumulated on my horizon.” In 2013, Anahit lost her husband to stomach cancer and had to take everything upon herself.

Anahit doesn’t complain. She believes that if you embrace a “do-it-yourself” attitude, you can overcome any difficulty. At one point, Anahit moved into her in-laws’ house, which was part of a state-owned refugee housing program. In 2015, her local municipality agreed to sell Anahit the deed to the house outright. With financial help she received from FAR’s Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program, Anahit was able to turn this modest dwelling into a home that was truly hers and her children’s. Her two sons became CASP beneficiaries in 2015, and Mariam followed a year after. As CASP beneficiaries, Anahit’s children will receive annual financial aid from U.S. sponsors until they turn 18.

Anahit’s number one priority for her children is keeping them warm in the winter cold. With high levels of humidity, their home’s thin walls have molded, and don’t retain heat. “Before, I had to borrow money to buy firewood. Now, I won’t have to take loans. I have CASP support,” remarks Anahit with a humble smile.

Throughout the year, the Aghajanyans rely on their small garden that yields some traditional crops, some hens, and some nut trees to help them meet their basic nutritional needs. For the rest, CASP has now become an integral source of support for them, allowing them to seek opportunities for growth and providing them with dignity.

Anahit is positive about the future. The family used to live on a meager fixed income from the children’s benefits of $165 and state allowance of $77. Now with CASP’s help, Anahit sees a future in which her children can take her own “do-it-yourself” attitude, and pave their own way to success.

*The Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP) is a FAR project sponsored by the Women’s Guild Central Council of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)