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Happy International Day of Families!

International Day of Families is observed on May 15, as proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 to reflect how important families are in the international community.

This year's theme is "Ensuring work-family balance."

From the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's message for 2012:

This year's International Day of Families highlights the need for work-family balance. The aim is to help workers everywhere provide for their families financially and emotionally, while also contributing to the socio-economic development of their societies.

International Day of Families

Work-family balance is critical in the communities where Heifer works. Nazmi Meta's story illustrates how one family's dedication to each other, when combined with agricultural support from Heifer International, makes the difference between barely surviving and happily thriving.

The Meta family lives in the Lekaj commune in the Kavaja region of Albania, which encompasses 11 villages with a total of 11,000 inhabitants. Heifer has provided Holstein-breed heifers, donated by Ireland-based Bóthar, to this community since 2005.

International Day of Families

Nazmi Meta is the leader of a family of eight. The dramatic story of Nazmi began when he fell off of his bicycle and suffered major injuries. After his accident, he had to stay home from many years, unable to work. Nazmi's wife became the family's sole support, as the children were too young. Nazmi's medications were expensive, putting further strane on the family's ability to survive.

During this difficult period of the family's life, they became participants in a Heifer project, and they received a pregnant heifer, along with technical assistance, trainings, agricultural supplies, equipment and concentrated feed for the animal.

Nazmi and his wife have five children ranging from age 4 to 13. Three of the children attend elementary school, while the other two have not yet reached school age.

In a recent visit to the Meta family's farm, the progress the family has made together over the past several years was evident. The family enjoys the results of continuous hard work on the farm. During the past seven years, the Meta family has increased the number of cows on their farm, and all family members are engaged in the farm work. Thanks to Heifer's intervention, the family lives in better conditions with a higher income and standard of living.

Many years after his accident, Nazmi said, "I am really happy to be on my feet and take care of my family. In the past there were times when we did not have money to make ends meet."

This story is one of many families who have benefited from the Heifer Albania program. It is great to see how their life has changed, embracing a positive perspective for their future.

Original field story by Frida Doci, Heifer Albania administrative assistant.


Brooke Edwards

Brooke Edwards is from Little Rock, Arkansas, and started working at Heifer International in 2009 as a writer. She and her husband raise two daughters in a house way too small for their four pets. They spend a lot of time sweeping.