In a village 12 kilometers from the city of Korça, the farms stand out. Mariglen is one of the youngest farmers in the area.
When going to meet Mariglen, one finds him with two elderly but welcoming parents, as has always been the tradition in Korça. They always rejoice when they see guests approaching their doorstep, and with a smile on their faces, invite them to sit down and talk.
Mariglen's father, Uncle Myfit, recounts how passionately he tended to sheep, goats, cows and horses. As he proudly talks of the livestock and the work on their land, he tells that his greatest wish today is for his only son to continue to further develop his legacy.
“It was the drive of World Vision and the great encouragement of the leaders of the farmers group in my village to start coming to meetings, and thanks to this drive I managed to increase the land from 6 to 23 dunum,” says Mariglen. “I am so happy that I can barely find the words. Now I no longer need to go to work as field laborer in someone else's land because I have my own land, my own produce. I also spend more time with the children, as well as help my wife.”
Mariglen now deals mainly with livestock, tends to the cows in the stall, and works the area planted with alfalfa and fodder corn—an essential feed for livestock.
Mariglen had previously tried emigrating to Greece. He picked olives to provide income for the family. This, against the wishes of his parents, because he saw no future in Albania. Nowadays he sees things differently and tries to make the best out of every situation.
Besides the lands inherited from his father, he has rented another plot, planting some of the land to provide enough feed for the cattle, while the rest he has cultivated with fruits and vegetables as fresh food for his family.
Mariglen now feels even more involved in raising the children. “I stay closer to them and help them with their homework because now I am no longer forced to work on other people's lands,” he says.
His daughter, Gloria, 7 years old, is registered in the child sponsorship programme. Recently, along with other children in her kindergarten, she has been provided with personal supplies and educational toys for their development.
After the lockdown, in light of the emergency situation created by the Covid-19 pandemic and the socio-economic recovery of families, World Vision supported Mariglen’s family with 30 chicks, which helped increase the number of eggs they sold.
Noel, 4 years old, Mariglen's youngest son, enjoys caring for the birds and follows his father everywhere. He rejoices whenever his father manages to breed an animal or bird to the yard or stall.
Today Mariglen is very focused on his family, land, produce, and livestock. He no longer sees emigration as an opportunity despite the difficulties faced during the lockdown period. He describes it as a challenge for all the farmers in his village, but he is optimistic that soon this too shall pass. Lately he is looking for more development opportunities.
Mariglen has also engaged with the first five agriculture trainings that World Vision is currently conducting with the farmers of the area. His expertise as a farmer is mainly in livestock, but he is greatly interested because he is considering agriculture as an opportunity for planting his lands with rare medicinal plants in the future.
Due to the proximity to the city of Korça, residents have access to many services in the city, but everything has two sides. Farmers feel the lack of a suitable agricultural infrastructure and quite frequently the lack of equipment for land irrigation and drainage constitutes further difficulties.
For 5 years, World Vision Albania has worked with the farmers of this area, training and guiding them in drafting business plans, identifying their problems and even advocating the problems, but also respecting their rights as farmers from the relevant authorities.
Mariglen states that he sees these difficulties not only as obstacles, but also as opportunities for improvement. He wants to be part of the change and, together with other farmers, change the situation and improve conditions for future generations of children.