A vegetable processing business became a turning point for the widows in one Kosovo village.
By Safet Kabashaj for Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 01/11/12
Krusa women at work at their successful business in Krusha e Madhe. [Safet Kabasaj/SETimes]
The southern Kosovo village of Krusha e Madhe, known for a massacre in March 1999 that left behind many widows and orphans, is becoming known for its vegetable-producing enterprise. Over time, the initiative run by the village widows has turned into a successful project.
Over the past eight years, a group of women have been processing pickles and peppers for ajvar, a relish.
The venture started in 2005 with the womens' attempt to distract themselves from the grief and pain of the 1999 events.
Kimete Hoti, who lost her husband and brother-in-law in the 1990's armed conflict, is the business team leader.
"We thought that the venture will be for one year only. A year went by, then another one. We never thought it for our future. Thanks to God, society, our solidarity, and donators who helped with training and participations in fairs, we managed to arrive to this point," she told SETimes.
Another war widow, Myrvedete Hoti, who lost 11 men in her extended family, remembers the first days of the business.
"Early on we didn't think of the importance of this job. We were lucky to get help from an organisation ... I accepted it to remove my thoughts from daily questioning "why" [why this happened], because I'm a mother that lost a son."
Today, a quiet and relaxed working atmosphere prevails in the factory. A dozen women process the vegetables, which are grown in the fertile fields around the village.
Besides the business success, the women are less preoccupied with the past, and instead are starting to think of the future as they become financially more independent. Their products are in high demand on the domestic market.