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Heifer International is working in the Carpathian Mountains in Romania to help the impoverished families in this area improve their livelihoods. By helping to create a network of producers and providing training in agricultural marketing and livestock distribution, Heifer is creating new realities that they never dreamed possible.
Residents of the Carpathians have always made handicrafts, dairy and meat products for family consumption. But, now they are trying to make an income by selling them. They produce 100 percent organic and traditional products, and with their new marketing skills they will be able to increase their family income.
Heifer is also working to prevent the degradation of highland pastures in this region of Romania by reintroducing the Turcana sheep breed and traditional shepherding. The number of sheep had decreased 25 percent in the last decade, affecting the highland pastures due to the lack of pasturing and organic fertilizers. The Turcana breed is well adapted for the Carpathian Mountains. For centuries, the rural economy was based on Turcana sheep milk, wool and meat. Heifer’s work is trying to restore this tradition from the past to create a brighter future for these people.
Heifer is seeing results. People in the Carpathians are willingly working together, and they continue to Pass on the Gift to new participants. The communities are more united than before, and a new community event, the shepherds’ festival, has become a new tradition.