After conducting research in 2001, the Foundation identified several villages of the Gegharkunik district as being economically and socially suitable for this project. (These villages are mostly populated by Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan – at that time, one of the most socially vulnerable groups within Armenia.)
We began with a pilot project in the Jil village, where 10 families received a herd of 250 sheep and working capital of $4,500. The families were charged with tending the sheep for five years and then returning the seed-money, as well as other sheep.
Within a year, three more farms were established in the villages of Shorzha, Artanish, and Drakhtik. Overall, the sheep farms ran well, although the farm in Shorzha also had some stock losses because of disease.
Despite encountering certain difficulties, the villagers were able to complete their payments.