Hungry families in Albania are being helped out of poverty by learning how to grow and maintain their own vegetable patches.
Families across Eastern Europe have been left with barely enough to eat as a result of high inflation and low incomes, says Mission Without Borders, which is working to turn around the lives of thousands of impoverished families in the region.
The method is simple, furnishing the families with 'Seeds of Hope' boxes and the training they need to grow small crops that will give them enough food to keep hunger at bay.
A total of 1,500 families are being supported in this way by Mission Without Borders. They include Bukurie, a widow, and her four children.
Before, she lived in fear about where their next meal would come from and she often resorted to filling them with as much pasta as she could muster.
"I felt hopeless and was filled with anxiety for my children," she recalls. "These crops make me see light at the end of the tunnel."
The vegetables will not only give people like Bukurie a healthy diet but also a hope for a self-sufficient future as the family has enough food for next winter. Bukurie has even been able to sell some of her produce so that her children can attend school.
"On the inside I was dying, but that box of seeds brought about such change," she said.
MWB's UK Director, David Hardisty, says, "Because of their deep poverty, so many families across Eastern Europe suffer hopelessness as well as hunger.
"They are under constant stress with no work, no money and no future. That's why our 'Seeds of Hope' boxes are crucial – they grow food and they help families plant their way out of poverty to have a hopeful, sustainable future."