Murad Papyan, Lusik Baghmanyan and their three children, 13-year-old Hrant, 12-year-old Gevorg, and 11-year-old Zhenya, live in the Berd Region of Tavush Province.

Murad, a contracted army serviceman, works for the military 15 days a month. On his off days, he and Lusik drive 300 kilometers to the largest and least expensive vegetable and fruit market in the area to buy produce. Then they return home to try to sell those very same fruits and veggies for a higher price in nearby villages. The Papyans also cultivate their land to feed themselves, and keep cows, pigs and hens as a food source.

They have their struggles. Their house is located near the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, and has been damaged by gunfire. Their three children also suffer from vision problems.
Two years ago, we began helping the Papyans through our Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP). Through the project’s Social Component for Large Families*, and at the family’s request, they received four beehives in 2017.

“They have grown now; we have more and more bees,” said Lusik. “My husband loves taking care of them. When Murad comes back from his army post, he puts down his bag and goes straight to the bees.”

They first tried producing honey last year. While they didn’t make enough to sell, the family did use it and they also managed to share some of it with several friends and relatives. It’s the first step in a plan to improve this family’s well-being, resilience and self-sufficiency. And as their bee population and their knowledge of honey production grows, they hope to make enough to sell some of their stock this year.

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP) is a multidimensional FAR project addressing child poverty in the Berd Region of Tavush Province, and is sponsored by the Edward and Helen Mardigian Foundation.

*BCPP’s Social Component for Large Families initiative helps low-income families with at least three children to better their situations through individualized action plans and microenterprise opportunities.