A new hope for an unfortunate community
- rabbits breeding in Vadu Rascov, Republic of Moldova -

  

The fall of the Soviet Union had caused much instability in the areas once under Russian rule, several regions having adopted independence both from their historical mother states and from the ex-Soviet Union, in most cases not recognized by the international community. This is the case of Transdniester, a self-proclaimed independent region between Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, which puts artificial barriers between villages with common history, now separated by tensions and insecurity.

In the village of Vadu Rascov, gun shots have, since recently, been part of the daily life routine for the poor inhabitants of the area. Separated from the region of Transdniester only by the river Nistru, the village has its twin counterpart on the other side of the water, many families being held apart from their families by it and by the political pressure.

In a village where more than 95% of the inhabitants don’t have a job, or the hope of finding one nearby, agriculture offers the only chance for the youth, as well as for elder people. This is the only occupation for the Secislav family, also affected by another typical problem of Moldova - migration. With an unemployed father, seriously ill of a heart disease, and a mother that left for Moscow 7 years ago looking for a job and never came back, Doinita and Radutu (10 and 15 years old) took up the rabbit breeding activity starting with this summer vacation, when they received 6 rabbits from passing on the gift in the Rabbits Project in Vadu Rascov.

 
  Doinita holding her favorite rabbit

 

 With a wise and sad look in their eyes, Doinita and Radutu seem like two grown-ups strengthened by the hardship of life in an isolated village where there are not many opportunities. United by the common interest of rabbits breeding, now that Heifer’s project had started, the members of the community often play the role of family for children like Doinita and Radutu, saddened by their mother’s absence and their father’s heart disease. They are both known to be responsible and hardworking children, familiar faces for the local association, as they both try to learn English and participate in beginner’s classes held by the local Peace Corps volunteer.

 
Doinita and Radutu Secislav in their garden

  

 The whole community of Vadu Rascov has found a new hope in rabbit breeding since the project has started, which as they say has changed their lives. Livestock breeding had filled in the gap left behind by the migration of labor force. Young people and old people left behind by their relatives who can still work and who have left for better opportunities in other countries, now have an occupation, and a source of income and food. Besides the already dramatic situation of the village, the community has been stricken again this summer by another unfortunate event – the flooding of the Nistru River, which has compromised most of the crops close to the water. With a great resistance to mischance and a capacity to start over from practically nothing, the farmers in Vadu Rascov still find a way to smile though, and have a remarkable optimism that surpasses our understanding.

A common interest is what was also lacking to bring the community members together, now united by a feeling of belonging to the place. The project has opened new windows to children like Doinita and Radutu, who now have a passion for rabbits and a special attachment towards the community, who had become their second family.

 
Radutu with members of the local association, who now play the role of family for the two children

  

By Corina Bucea,
Program Assistant,
Heifer Romania
August 2008

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