People Choosing Peace: Arzie (Kosovo)

At 17, Arzie married and had her first child, but conflict in Kosovo began soon after the birth, and her husband was abducted and beaten. He escaped and the family fled to Macedonia, but when the war ended the growing family returned to Kosovo. The years after the war were not easy for Arzie and her young family, and for a source of income they took up farming raspberries.

“It is very hard work but also rewarding,” Arzie said.

Arzie joined the Women for Women International program in Kosovo and began using her voice to help encourage other women to use their voice as well. Arzie started her own association for women called “Infinit” where she helps women change the way they think, helps them find solutions to their problems, and to fight against injustice.

“A woman can be strong without anyone’s help, but she can also breakdown if she expects everyone to value her. To see herself for who she is and accept it is a strength that a woman can have only by believing in herself,” Arzie said.

When a raspberry cultivator gave Arzie seedlings for 5 acres of land and told her to pay for it after selling raspberry products, she was able to see a future. Together with her family, Arzie started cultivating raspberries and expanded her business by selling products made from the raspberries she grew. The success Arzie gained from her raspberries gave her the ability to pay it forward and give raspberry seedlings to other women in Kosovo. She has now donated 5,000 raspberry seedlings to 88 women across the country.

Source and Photo: Women for Women International