Passing on the Gift in Bilbor

 

On April 24, 2010, in Bilbor, surrounded by the picturesque scenery of the Romanian Carpathian Mountains, the Passing on the Gift (POG) ceremony for the Romanian Carpathian Project phase II took place.

 

Located in this isolated and remote mountainous area, the farming communities are facing rough times due to the over-exploitation of woods and timber industries. With almost no infrastructure and a high unemployment rate, the communities are surviving through agriculture. They are fighting poor soil and steep slopes, the ups and downs of the weather, and farming for subsistence.

 

Heifer Romania started the Romanian Carpathian Project phase II in 2007 in order to increase the farmers’ income, improve their nutrition and take care of the environment.
On April 24, 2010, in the beautiful mountainous region of Bilbor, Heifer Romania and the project holder organized the POG ceremony. This POG cornerstone ensures the continuity of Heifer projects, and the farmers are aware of it. It represents the way to help more and more people, who struggle against the hardships of life, every day that passes by.

 

The community members also built a wooden cross. As tradition goes in these religious communities, wooden or stone crosses are usually placed at crossroads, beside fountains or in some places related to specific events. The wooden cross, the animals and all who attended, were blessed during the religious ceremony that opened the event. 


 

Members of the community attending the blessing of the wooden cross.

During the POG celebration, 55 sheep where passed on to new project participants through random draw. 


 
New project participants admiring their future livestock

The ceremony was organized in this picturesque area where temporary enclosures where built for the livestock. Representatives of local and regional authorities witnessed the passing on of 55 sheep to five families who were looking forward to receiving the Heifer gift.

 

The beneficiaries and the entire community celebrated this event and consider the Heifer project as a major step in the development of Bilbor.  They have accepted to become part of the great international Heifer family and are willing to inspire other communities to take this path of self-sustainability and self-confidence.

 

Ileana Trif, 31, is a nurse at a regional orphanage and a very kind and understanding person. The Trif family is one of the new project participants that received the Heifer gift. Ileana is married to Costica (36), and together they have a daughter, Alexandra (6).


 
Ileana Trif, holding her new passed on lamb

Ileana was very happy when she was chosen as a project beneficiary. “The sheep will complete our household, providing milk, and the selling of extra milk will bring more money to help finish our house.” Costica is unemployed. He is busy with agriculture work and sometimes works in the timber industry and also takes care of the household. His father, who is 74, also lives with the family. Little Alexandra is in kindergarten. She is very smart and loves to play with the lambs. The family plans to finish their house which they began building almost three years ago. Costica always agrees with his wife when it comes to making plans for the future. They work hard and struggle to provide Alexandra the conditions for a happy childhood and opportunities for the future.

 

“These animals are a great help. We will have milk and cheese every day, and we can sell the extra milk and dairy products,” said Costica about the gift received. The family is very thankful that Heifer opened this opportunity for them. Not only will their nutrition  improve, but their income will increase to help them build their dreams.
This gratitude, expressed with all their heart, is shared by all Heifer project participants. The wooden cross will always remind the Trif family about this special day when 10 sheep and a ram became their opportunity to change their future becoming self-sustainable and self-reliant.

 

Submitted by Laura Manciu,
Communication & PR Coordinator,
Heifer Romania

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