Sheep help Romanian mountain family build a better future 

Gheorghe and Razvanela Iftimut live in Borca village, northeastern Romania. At 35 years old, these young farmers are very poor and have six children, ages 4 to 19. Borca is a village in Romania’s eastern Carpathian Mountains with steep lands and unproductive soil. Most of the villagers breed animals. In small vegetable gardens, they cultivate the few vegetables that grow in the area: mainly potatoes, onions, cucumbers, beans and carrots.
Razvanela Iftimut is a housewife; she takes care of their household and six children. Because of the harshness of mountain life, there is little money and scarce job opportunities. Over the past few years, Gheorghe has found construction work in England. This has helped the family financially, but his absence has had a negative impact on the family, as a whole.

Last year, an unfortunate event happened. Ten-year-old Abel was hit by a bus while returning from school. The impact affected many internal organs, including his heart, so he underwent a complicated surgery. As the oldest male in the family and the most hardworking of all children, Abel used to take over his father’s responsibilities while Gheorghe was away. Luckily, Abel’s health is good now, but he must refrain from intense physical activities for the rest of his life. The family’s financial resources were exhausted on Abel’s health care. His mother says, with tears in her eyes, „The bus driver gave him a hat and a chocolate when he was in hospital, nothing more.”
Before the Iftimut family became a beneficiary of Heifer’s Sheep Project in Borca, the family of eight had only owned two pigs and a few poultry. There was not enough money to buy other animals. Neighbors would often feed the children or send food and used children’s clothes to their mother.

In the fall of 2006, the family received 10 quality Turcana sheep and a ram, which was quite an event for all. One year later, the children are very excited about raising sheep and especially caring for the lambs, which have considerably increased the number of animals in the household. Abel still loves taking care of livestock more than anyone in the family. He has named the sheep and can even tell you their personalities. His dream is to have a very large flock of sheep.

Abel Iftimut, the boy who loves taking care of sheep and lambs

For the whole Iftimut family, receiving 11 sheep from Heifer is exactly the help they needed to start a new, better life and, according to Razvanela, become a „normal” family. Most of the products from the livestock are used at home, as it takes a lot to feed a family of eight. The sheep cheese and lamb meat are barely enough for everybody.
A very positive effect of the distribution of sheep was the return of Gheorghe from England. With more opportunities at home, the father of six now sees a future in his home village, as an animal breeder. Together with his wife, Razvanela, Gheorghe plans to have a large herd and make a decent living by raising quality, highly productive Turcana sheep.

Razvanela with children, nieces and lambs

Being able to buy clothes and school supplies for the children is a future dream for Razvanela, as she envisions her family without today’s struggle for basic needs. She took care of sheep as a child and knows what it takes to be a good sheep breeder.
Heifer has made a double impact on this family. Not only have they been offered the material resources and incentive for a new start, but the opportunity to start anew also has influenced Gheorghe’s decision to return to his family and start working for a better life in his village. We extend Razvanela’s heartfelt appreciation to all who have contributed to this positive change for her family! 

Anca Oprita
Communication and PR Coordinator
Heifer Romania
August 2007



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