This is my third time in Armenia and its beauty never ceases to impress me. I have never been here at this time of year and its lush green landscapes, high mountains and bright blue skies provide a stunning backdrop to our three and a half hour journey to Sisian. I am really excited about seeing my sponsored children Aram and Nareh. I have met them before, but I’m keen to meet their families again and see the difference in their lives since I was last here.
I’m going to be in Armenia for a few more days, so please do ask me questions if there is anything you want to know about what life is like for children here. You can post them below or on World Vision UK’s Facebook page at
Aram, a very proud sheep owner
I was thrilled to see Aram again and it was good to see that he had grown so much since last time. Aram lives in Sisian with his father, step mother, and younger half-brother.
World Vision had provided his family with 4 sheep and Aram was revelling in the responsibility of being a sheep owner. World Vision has also provided him with some support to help teach him how to look after his sheep. Aram was very keen to explain to us that he was in charge of the sheep and his father was merely the assistant!
These sheep were a way for Aram’s family to raise income and meant they would have enough money to keep Aram in school, it would also provide other basics like food and clothing. Four lambs could provide about $800 per year to Aram’s family. A typical family income is $1,200 per year, so this is a significant increase for the family.
Nareh and her Wonderful Grandmother
Next we visited Nareh and were greeted very jovially by her wonderful grandmother, a strong woman who is the real driver behind Nareh’s family. We had swapped quite a lot of information through our letter writing so we had lots to talk about! Nareh showed me a photo of us that we took last time I visited and I showed her photos of my wife and my dog Elvis, so she could see a bit of my life in Scotland. Nareh told me how she would start High School in September, however, because Sisian was quite far away from her village she would have to stay there during the week.
Nareh’s family has also been given two bullocks, as part of the economic development project I am supporting. These are going to be fattened up and then sold to market in the winter to get a better price for them. This is expected to generate $750 which will then be used to buy at least two more new calves and leave some profit to pay for the basics in life; food, clothes, heating etc. Nareh looks after the calves at the moment and seems to enjoy doing that.
Gifts and Sad Farewells
It was a real joy to be able to give Aram and Nareh some winter clothes to keep them warm when the temperature drops later in the year. Armenia has extreme temperatures from November to April, sometimes reaching -30 degrees. For children who do not have adequate clothing, this is obviously pretty chilly! So Aram now has a waterproof coat, a hat and some gloves to keep him warm while he tends the sheep. I also gave him some Lego which I thought he and his father would enjoy. I gave Nareh some warm clothes too, and a jewellery making kit. In return her Grandmother gave me a very large pot of honey – though I don’t know how I’ll get that back to the UK!
Saying goodbye is always the hardest part of these visits and I did get a little choked up saying goodbye to Aram and Nareh. But being able to sponsor them and make life better for them is important to me. I had a good childhood and I think every child has a right to this. I have seen a lot of children living in poverty around the world and it has made me want to do something about it. It is a joy for me to see how these children progress each year – I am not trying to replace their family but just trying to help them from a distance. I love being able to see the difference my small bit of support can make and also see the difference other sponsors like you are making.
Tomorrow, I’d like to tell you about two special projects that I am supporting to help children in the local area. In the meantime though, please post any questions you have about life for children in Armenia below or on the World Vision Facebook page at
John Schneider is a World Vision supporter who has travelled to Armenia to visit his two sponsored children. He has visited Armenia twice before and also supports several income generating projects. These projects are aimed at helping families and communities to better look after vulnerable children in Armenia.