Family unity sustained by the Heifer Gift

In the beautiful Bucovina region, under the warmth of the summer sun and hidden among impressive mountain peaks, lays Carlibaba village. The site where Heifer`s “Livestock for Highland Farms in Carlibaba” project is developing. The aim of the project is to improve the income level and nutritional situation of the beneficiaries involved. One of the most important components of the project was the distribution of 320 Turcana sheep, a traditional breed and 32 rams to poor and challenged families in the Golden Bistrita Valley. The region has weak infrastructure and almost no job opportunities.
Driving through the village we encountered the Tironiac family, working on the field, turning the hay in order for it to be dried by the sun.


Ilie Tironiac,( age 37)  his wife Marcela (age 31) and their two daughters, Adriana (age 12) and Paula (age 11) share all the joy and hardships of life together, day by day. Working hard is part of their daily activity and they relay on each other to pull through and fight for a better future.
Ilie and Marcela met one summer while working the field; soon they become a family and had two beautiful girls, who represent their best reason to keep fighting. They dream to become self-reliant and to have means for keeping the girls in school, overall to have an easier existence.
During summer, Ilie is doing casual labor in agriculture or in the forest, cutting and handling wood. Marcela used to work as a milk collector for the nearby villages, but as the milk collecting points have now being closed, at the moment she is unemployed. The hardest times are in the winter season, when Ilie can not find work and the family barely survives.
They live together with Marcela’s father, who is in poor health and three brothers. Sadly, Marcela’s mother died 3 years ago. All of them live in 2 small houses with cramped rooms and very modest means. 

The Tironiac family began building a house for them, more than five years ago, but the building materials are rather expensive and they can barely manage. The entire family takes good care of two horses, 2 cows, the pig and poultry they own, which are the only source of nourishment for 8 people who are living in the same household.
Heifer, through this project, distributed 10 sheep and 1 ram to Ilie’s family during original placement, so from October 2008, they became part of the worldwide Heifer family. These animals are their only property and source of revenue. “Without the Heifer animals we received I don’t see how we could have managed...”Ilie said.

His dream is to increase the number of sheep in order to strengthen his income, but right now the family is counting on the dairy products for their daily meals. “I will increase the number of sheep than the girls will not have to worry about tomorrow.”
 They are proud of their animal breeding heritage and are happy to attend the trainings and meetings organized in the area. Ilie is excited to participate to fairs and exhibitions; he likes to be informed and shows strong interest in all new animal keeping techniques. The family loves the Passing on the Gift cornerstone and is happy to continue the cycle of giving when time comes.
The girls are very supportive and help their parents as much as possible. Their mother said the youngest girl is very talented with numbers and loves school, while Adriana wants to become a painter. She already has her drawings and paintings on exhibition at school. Her paintings mostly have as theme agricultural labors, people and animals working the field and landscapes from the village. Proudly the parents mentioned “all they have to do is go to school so they don’t have to work as hard as we do..!”
Marcela would like the girls to attend the local courses of traditional dance believing this way they will have more chances and more ways to develop their talents and skills.
With hope and trust in God they wake up each morning and believe some day they will have a home of their own, the girls will have a path in life and their lives will improve. “God is giving us the power to carry on and we thank him every day for this!” they said.
The Heifer gift is one major step towards this desired goal. They are an example of hard-working people with strong faith in God who will fight each day hoping and believing in a brighter future.
The shield of protection is staying together as a family, for them this is the key to success and a solid base for their life.


Laura Manciu
PR &Communications
Heifer Romania

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