The Zargaryan family of seven live in a two-room building with smoke-stained walls that was once a part of Berd City’s former canned food factory.

Sixty-nine-year-old Serozh Zargaryan and his wife, Anahit, 62, their son, Gagika, 37, daughter-in-law Hermine, 34, and grandchildren, Greta, 16, Sergey, 15, and Tatevik, 10, know firsthand what it’s like to feel everyday hardship.

They were homeless for a time after their house was destroyed by an Azeri rocket during the Nagorno-Karabakh War in the early 1990s. Today, their only source of sustainable income is Serozh’s pension and Anahit’s income as a cleaner at Berd Medical Center. They grow their own vegetables on a small plot of land near the food factory, but it’s not enough to feed everyone.

Hermine constantly deals with many issues—lack of decent living conditions, and her inability to raise her children in the way she believes is best. “My children have never had new clothes, they’re all second hand,” she said. “We live with debts that we won’t be able to pay off for years.”

Berd is where FAR implements the Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP). As BCPP beneficiaries, FAR program staff developed an individual plan for support for this family. They were given hens, which still provide them with fresh eggs, and two pigs, both of which they had to sell to buy wood in order to survive the winter of 2016.

For the past five years, the Zargaryans have also relied on FAR’s Berd Soup Kitchen.

“It’s a great source of support for us because sometimes it’s our only food for the day,” Hermine said. “Whatever we don’t eat at the soup kitchen, we usually take home. FAR has been by our side for more than five years and I am very grateful; my children are not starving.”

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