Sowing Seeds to Fruition

Gergana's family thrives with their own greenhouse thanks to MWB, setting them up for a bright future

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In Gotse Delchev, Bulgaria, numerous Roma families are entrenched in poverty, grappling with limited education and scarce employment prospects. Despite their resilience and dedication, many struggle to secure a stable livelihood.

Gergana, aged 30, resides in a village near Gotse Delchev, Bulgaria. She is a single mother to her sons, Georgi, aged 12, and Victor, aged two. Lacking formal qualifications, Gergana faced considerable challenges in finding adequate employment to support her children. Their home, still under construction and in need of repairs, compounded her ongoing difficulties in meeting basic necessities.

“Gergana is a loving mother and she’d always dreamed of offering her family a secure future, where they had everything they needed. Unfortunately, circumstances didn’t work out. Making ends meet was become increasingly difficult.”

Ventsislav is employed with Mission Without Borders (MWB), aiding families facing poverty. When Gergana's family joined the family sponsorship program, they started receiving essential supplies like food, hygiene items, and additional support. Georgi was overjoyed to attend a summer camp where he could enjoy activities with peers his age.

In the meantime, Ventsislav couldn’t help but notice how skilled Gergana was at growing crops. She comes from an agricultural family that has worked the land for many generations. MWB provided the family with Seeds of Hope: packets of seeds that give families the opportunity to grow healthy produce to supplement their diet with fresh vegetables.

Ventsislav said, “Gergana’s family has a large courtyard where they grow lettuce, tomatoes, and other crops. I was impressed because the courtyard was never uncultivated, and every single metre of soil was planted with different seeds.”

He also noted the limitations of the set-up, adding, “They couldn’t produce vegetables all year round, and they had no vision to sell their produce in the market.”

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All of this changed when Ventsislav – having recognised Gergana’s skillset – arranged for the family to receive a self-sufficiency project in the shape of a greenhouse. This would enable them to produce vegetables all year round to sell at the market, where demand for organic vegetables is high.

At first, Gergana had little confidence that the project would succeed, but after several encouraging conversations with Ventsislav, she started to believe it was possible. MWB ensured Gergana and her family received training on how best to grow crops in the greenhouse, and immediately the business took off.

Gergana said, “I’d had no experience of growing vegetables in a greenhouse, but thanks to Ventsislav and a consultation with an agronomist, we’re now able to produce a crop that’s in demand in the marketplace.

“I’ve always had to depend on the temperature outside to be able to sow suitable vegetables in the garden. I was surprised to see how quickly the seeds grew in the greenhouse producing lettuce and onions.

“Immediately afterwards, we sowed tomatoes, cucumbers, and pepper beans. All this was amazing for me. Through the vegetables that we’ve sold, we’re much better off financially. I thank God for what you’ve done for me and my children.”

The greenhouse not only provided a secure income stream but also offered an opportunity for Gergana’s family to work together and grow closer.

With her eyes shining with joy, Gergana said, “Over the last few years, the Mission has been side by side with my family, through all our difficulties and through all our joys.

“Several restaurants are already buying our products at a very good price. It is amazing. I used to survive from day to day; now I’ve started to believe that my children and I have a chance for a good future. Through this project, I now have bigger and achievable dreams.”

If you would like to find out more about family sponsorship, visit our website and explore how you too, can help bring lasting change to a family like Gergana’s.

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