Winter came early to Kosovo, with snow capping mountains above the villages of Brestovik and Siga by mid-October. That hasn’t stopped Miodrag from being able to provide his family of six a bounty of fresh, organically grown produce using the greenhouse that he built last year with assistance from IOCC. Kosovo is mainly rural with about half of the population small-scale farmers eking out a living in remote villages. During the armed conflict in 1999, all 1,000 residents from Brestovik and Siga fled their homes to seek refuge in Serbia and Montenegro. Only 58 families, approximately 135 people, have returned to their homes in the two villages and now live in isolation and uncertainty.
Working with the Serbian Orthodox Church Diocese of Raska and Prizren, and through Visoki Decani Monastery, IOCC is helping vulnerable families in the region extend their growing season with support for the production of new greenhouses. Equipped with his newly gained skills and semi-automatic pipe-bending and CO2 welding machines provided by IOCC, Miodrag and his fellow villagers have produced greenhouse frames for himself as well as nearly 30 more neighboring families who are also reaping the benefits of greenhouse farming. This is part of a broader IOCC initiative to help create sustainable communities in Kosovo.