Aleks Berdufi is a farmer who benefited from the Farmers' Empowerment Through Beekeeping Project after all his bee colonies were damaged. The program trained him in contemporary ways of beekeeping, disease prevention, and sales and marketing. Being trained through the program helped him to increase his income and become more self-reliant.
At the end of June, OCMC launched a social media fundraising campaign on Facebook and Twitter to support a project called "Farmers' Empowerment through Beekeeping" run by Diakonia Agapes, an agency of the Orthodox Church of Albania. The initiative serves farmers who are beginning to learn about beekeeping as a way to add to their farming income. Through the initiative, farmers have learned the skills necessary to keep bees and about honey production, sales, and marketing.
Albania is one of the most economically impoverished countries in Europe. Emerging from Communist rule in the mid-90's, it has been struggling to transition to a flourishing open-market economy ever since. The recent global financial crisis hit Albania especially hard. Over half of all families in Albania rely on agriculture for their livelihood - mostly through small family operations and subsistence farming. By helping to impart new skills onto these farmers, they will be better able to support themselves and the Church.
This project will help farmers like Aleks Berdufi, who received beekeeping training previously from Diakonia Agapes. After all of his bee colonies were damaged, the program taught him contemporary ways of beekeeping, disease prevention, and sales and marketing. He tripled his number of bee families, and honey quality and quantity were improved so that his income increased.
The training offered by Diakonia Agapes gives low-income farmers the tools necessary to be more self-reliant. It is an important ministry that demonstrates the care and concern the Church has for all people and its dedication to empowerment as a principle of the Faith.
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