Tsovinar’s story – ordinary village woman wins a grant to boost agro production in her community

Tsovinar and her husband Khachatur, 35 used to live in Russia for years, but when due to personal reasons they returned to their home village in Aparan Area, Aragatsotn region of Armenia, Khachatur couldn’t find a job, and Tsovinar understood that she needs to do something. “I remember when we got married my husband used to work, and I was taking care of the house, and then my children were born and I needed to take care of them as well. But one day he became jobless, and we were at the threshold of poverty that would hinder us from bringing up our children and providing for their education and living,” remembers Tsovinar, “It was then when I told him that I need to work, otherwise we will have no bread to eat”. 

Though it was difficult for Khachatur, but he finally allowed Tsovinar to find a job. Soon she was offered a modest position in the local school as a part time administrative assistant.

“My salary was very small, we could hardly make ends meet, we couldn't afford any new clothes for the children or extra-curricular activities,” remembers Tsovinar. 

Tsovinar with her children

When in 2015 World Vision’s Economic Development Coordinator for Aparan Area invited the villagers for a meeting, Tsovinar was among the first to attend. 

“They offered us to start cultivating raspberry. We have 1,800 square meter land next to our house, which we always used to cultivate potatoes, but what we produced was only enough as food for the family. We had no income at all from our yard,” remembers Tsovinar.

In the next meeting she already came with her husband, and they decided to take the risk and planted raspberry in a small part of their yard.

The season for producing raspberries is one month, and raspberry cultivation is not time and effort consuming, but it does bring significant income. “In 2016 we could generate more than 600,000 AMD (US$1,250) income from raspberries, this year it was 900,000AMD (US$1,879).

 

Tsovinar with her husband and children

“These changes are all thanks to World Vision. We have participated in many training sessions, they organised different meetings with potential buyers, they were teaching us the right methods of cultivation, how to manage finances, how to organise different events to promote and sell our products. I am so thankful to World Vision because now my children are fed, nicely dressed, they are actively involved in extracurricular activities and they have big plans for their future,” says Tsovinar.

In 2016, leading a group of four other co-villagers, Tsovinar submitted a proposal  to the German Embassy in Armenia for constructing a small-scale fruit processing factory in their village. 

“Then Arevik from World Vision called and told me that we won the grant and we now have 7,000 EURO to start the construction. I felt so proud of myself and my team. We could make it, we could become independent producers who earn enough money for their family’s dignified living,” says Arevik.