Stories of Change

Ivanka with the sheep that her family received through the CWS program.

After two decades, a return to the business that once was

Before the Bosnian War, Ivanka Kecman and her family earned a living by farming and raising livestock. Like so many other families, they fled during the conflict and returned years later. 

The Kecmans have been back in the village of Prnjavor in western Bosnia and Herzegovina for more than 20 years, but they are still waiting on support from the state to help them. When they returned to the village, they realized they should continue farming and raising livestock because of the experience and knowledge they already had. So that’s what they did. They decided to primarily pursue cattle and sheep breeding so that they could earn money by selling meat locally.

But without support to develop their livelihoods, or even to rebuild their house, they struggled. For many years, they haven’t had the resources to make their business sustainable. They couldn’t get past their basic needs. 

That’s when CWS and our partners stepped up to help. With support from Latter-day Saint Charities and through the work of our local partner in Bosnia, we provided 10 sheep for Ivanka’s family. We also invited them for training on new and innovative best practices for sheep raising. Because of the pandemic and the ban on group gatherings in the region, this training took place in their yard. It was a great opportunity for Ivanka and her family to ask experts any questions they had and build on their extensive knowledge of caring for sheep.

These 10 sheep are the jumpstart that Ivanka’s family needed to get their business back on track. We know it won’t be long before they are able to expand their flock and earn more income to help overcome the challenges that they have faced for decades.

“I hope that in the spring I will have a flock of sheep that is even bigger than now and that I will be able to organize the work so we can be present in our local market,” Ivanka says. “This opportunity is a big boost for us.”

And for everyone who made this program possible, Ivanka has a promise: “Thanks to everyone who provided us with this help. We will use it in the best way and improve the quality of our lives.”