20 Jan, 2022

Armenia Tree Project Provides Villagers with Economic Opportunities through its Backyard Nursery Program

    With each passing year, the popularity of ATP’s Backyard Nursery micro-enterprise project grows and the number of families interested in participating  has increased significantly. ATP is currently cooperating with dozens of beneficiary families in Aghavnavank, Margahovit, and Keti villages, located in the Tavush, Lori and Shirak provinces of Armenia.
     Backyard Nursery provides rural residents with the opportunity to earn supplemental income from tree sales. ATP provides each family with seeds and instructions on how to care for them. When the seedlings have grown enough to be transplanted, ATP purchases and replants the saplings in its forestry and community planting sites.
     The increase in income allows people to live in their community rather than leaving for abroad to seek a job. Vyacheslav Gevorgov, a participant from Aghavnavank, says that he likes Backyard Nursery because “it allows me to earn money working at home while at the same time spend more time with my two little babies and my wife.” The additional money also allows families to afford health care treatments, renovate deteriorated houses, send their children to better schools and open up opportunities for educational advancement, as well as to support their families through the year. Kamo Mirzoyan, a longtime participant from Aghavnavank, notes that one reason the program is popular is because unemployment is widespread in the village. Mirzoyan adds, “Every year during this season I am sure I will earn a certain amount of money which can be spent for my family needs. This year I will pay my son’s college fee.”
     Apart from providing financial support to the rural communities, the Backyard Nursery Program contributes to ATP’s other initiatives by providing more trees to reforest/afforest Armenia. Each nursery has the capacity to grow near 1,000-3,000 trees.
     In 2021, the three communities together have contributed over 25,000 trees and shrubs to ATP’s planting programs. By growing trees, these families are contributing to Armenian’s environmental health while earning a livelihood that enables them to stay in the homeland and uplift their families. Marine Malayan, a participant from Margahovit, says, “I really appreciate ATP’s efforts in supporting villagers like me. The project changes the environment and the life quality. My goal for the next year is to sell no less than 2,000 shrubs.”
   Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor from Chicago, ATP recently provided 25 Backyard Nursery families with some special New Year’s gifts, which included hand tools, large water tanks, and clothing and toys for their children.

  If you would like to support ATP”s seasonal workers, please visit www.ArmeniaTreeProject.org/en/donation and note ‘Backyard Nursery Program in the Comment Box.  Armenia Tree Project, established in 1994, is a non-profit organization that revitalizes Armenia’s and Artsakh’s most vulnerable communities through tree-planting initiatives, and provides socio-economic support and growth. It is based in Yerevan, Armenia and has an office in Woburn, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit ArmeniaTree.org