Asset 3


End of content No more pages to load

Your search did not match any articles

Sara Petrosyan

Maral Anjargolian: “Charitable work has been a way of life for our family”

Elmira and her family lead a hardscrabble life in the Armavir village of Shenik.

The only property they own is one cow. Even the house they live in isn’t theirs.

But that cow, a gift from Maral Anjargolian, a Diaspora Armenian, keeps the family going; just ask Elmira.

“That cow brings in 8-10,000 Drams per week. It provides 6-7 liters of milk and day. We use some ourselves and sell the rest,” she says. “What’s important is that we no longer buy food on credit at the store. I can buy sugar, rice and pasta with the money I get from selling the milk.”

On this day, Maral has come to the village to see how Elmira and her family are doing. She makes it a point to follow up with the families she’s selected for her unique brand of grassroots assistance; namely, the gift of a cow.

Elmira’s family is number six on Maral’s list of benefactors.

The Los Angeles resident says the idea stems from a chance meeting she had with a woman working at a Sevan hotel. Maral expressed a desire to assist a local family in need, but stressed that she wanted to go beyond charity. She wanted to provide a stable means of income.

On the advice of the hotel worker, Maral purchased a cow for a local family. A year later, when she revisited the family and saw that their situation had considerably improved, Maral decided to launch her “cow project”.

Sometimes, the selection of a family is quite random, as in Kopa, when Maral came upon a pretty young girl wearing tattered shoes.

“I returned to Los Angeles and decided to purchase a cow for the family. My daughter Sara, living in Armenia, made the arrangements. From then on, every year that I travel to Armenia I present a cow to a family living in poverty,” Maral says. The families receiving her largesse are from different provinces in Armenia, and Artsakh as well.

“They have become members of my family. I visit them whenever I’m in Armenia. In a year’s time, that cow has a calf. You can’t imagine the satisfaction and joy that I feel seeing how their lives have changed for the better.”

Mrs. Anjargolian says she inherited her desire to help the less fortunate from her father, and he from his father.

“My father served as the secretary for the AGBU in Baghdad. My grandfather also was engaged in charitable work. My grandfather opened the first wine making factory in Iraq, and it was a huge operation. Charitable work has been a way of life for our family,” says Maral, a pharmacologist by profession, and recounts the following story from her childhood.

Whenever family seeking assistance were turned down by the AGBU, they immediately sought out Maral’s father, who would then assist them with funds from his own pocket. On one occasion, the mother of the large family scolded her husband, “It’s good you didn’t give them my shirt as well.”

“I do this charitable work with great pleasure, and I happily join various organizations with this aim in mind; the All Armenian Fund, the Iraqi-Armenian Family Union and the Armenian School organization.”

With assistance from the Armenian School organization, a number of schools in Armenia have been renovated and furnished with lab equipment and other necessities. Recently, Maral delivered   lab equipment obtained by the organization to the senior school in Metzamor. The school benches are also a gift from the organization.

Iraqi Armenians now living in the States have founded the Iraqi-Armenian Family Union in Armenia, providing much needed assistance to Armenians in war-torn Iraq. With the Union’s help, 103 Armenian families from Iraq have relocated to Armenia over the years. The Union even provided a monthly allowance for them in one year.

Maral now has her sights on 2015 and the commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the Genocide.

While there are many Armenian organization in the U.S. gearing up to mark the anniversary, Maral says she has her own ideas to make the commemorations all the more meaningful.



Write a comment

If you found a typo you can notify us by selecting the text area and pressing CTRL+Enter