Many families in Bosnia Herzegovina who struggle to make ends meet are finding new hope in agriculture.
With help from our partner, Muslim Aid, and local government agriculturalists, families who are unemployed, low income, or disabled receive training and materials for greenhouse gardening. In the Bosnian climate, greenhouse gardening gives these families multiple harvests, providing food for their tables and extra to sell.
As part of the project, Muslim Aid and the municipalities help provide each family with a greenhouse startup package. This includes a concrete-anchored greenhouse, an irrigation system, and seeds and seedlings for the first planting cycle. Each family provides the land and labor and a portion of the startup package costs. With multiple harvest cycles in a single year, families use the income from their harvests to continue planting subsequent crops.
Muslim Aid provides training and technical support to participating families for the first year, and they remain available as a resource for two additional years. This time frame helps transition all technical support to the local government agriculturalist, who is a long-term local resource for these families.
LDS Charities representative Ron Davison said, “The objective is to create food for the family and a little surplus that they can sell for cash to meet their other needs.”
In addition to setting aside money for the next season’s planting, recipients have used their harvests to help make needed improvements to their living conditions, pay school fees, and purchase equipment or livestock to broaden their income base.
Rifet and his wife Edina (pictured above), use proceeds from their garden to help support their daughter, who is studying to become a pharmacist. She visits them on the weekends and takes the extra produce to market. “These [families] have aspirations to rise above,” says Davison. “We give them a chance to do that.”
All 60 families who received aid in the spring 2015 season, including Rifet and Edina, have now entered their second year of planting with a fully sustainable greenhouse. To date, LDS Charities and Muslim Aid have helped 360 families in Bosnia Herzegovina, and they plan to help 200 more during the next year.