Arzie Zenuni, a graduated woman from the Women for Women International program, has donated 5,000 raspberry seedlings to Kosovo women. The path of donation of seedlings started in April 2017 in the village of Bajgore, continuing with the village Zaskok and Zaselle, where the beneficiaries of raspberry seedlings are women of the Women for Women program.
On May 2017, Arzije continued this journey of donating raspberry seedlings in the village of Vërban, Lloshkobare, Koshare, Balaj and Mazhiq, where 88 women of these villages benefited seedlings.
Arizije does this humane gesture to help women who love cultivating raspberry and generating income. "I did feel comfortable with giving these raspberry seedlings through the Kosovo-Women 4 Women organization, starting with my experience, I know that there are women who want to cultivate raspberry but do not have the opportunity. Though I'm not materially able to help them, my goal is to help some women and with these seedlings I've donated I hope they will start cultivating and expanding their cultivation. "
Arzie Zenuni is a Kosovar woman who in 2016 was enrolled in the Women for Women International program in Kosovo. She is from the village of Biti e Eperme. She has learned for the program s from some of her relatives from Pleshinë village.
What makes Arzije special is her humanity and the will to help women of Kosovo. Before coming to the WfWI program, Arzije was involved in cultivating raspberry, but not in very large quantities.
During the one year program with WfWI she also learned the cultivation practices of raspberry, and created a network with the women of the program and with different stakeholders. She always wanted to grow raspberries in large quantities and generate income. This dream was made possible by a raspberry cultivator, who saw Arzije's dedication for this cultivation, gave her seedlings for 5 acres of land and told her to pay for it after selling raspberry products. Arzije together with her family started cultivating raspberries and expanded her business by selling the products. Here she began her success with the cultivation of raspberry and she goes on further.
Arzije is very grateful for the organization Kosova Women 4 Women: "For the organization I have many good words to help women and guide them in their journey to success. I was sponsored by a woman from the US during the WfWI program and exchanged letters. All the time I wondered how I can help women in the same way, motivating them. The gift of raspberry seedlings to women of Kosovo I do with all my heart, and I want to tell my sponsor that I am doing something for women too "- says Arzija.
History and path toward success: MY STORY – Arzije Zenuni
“Being a woman is not easy! The past might hurt when we think about it but we can’t change it; living the preset is different…one can recreate the past by living the present. You either face your past or run from it! The choice is yours!
Every person feels pain from the very moment they are born. Every pain is different but the pain which we feel the soul is the worst of all. A person learns to live with the pain up to the point where pain becomes part of their identity. I know people try to hide their pain because they think that pain is something to be avoided. I tried to avoid my pain, too.
My life began on March 13, 1973 (the day I was born). I was different from early on...I acted more like a boy than a girl.
We all know how Kosovar women were treated in the past. They were property to men. Women were obliged to obey, which is not one of my traits. Being obedient was and is the opposite of what I am. But one learns from life, and life taught me that I must obey and object myself to survive. I did this for a short time only.
Change is something that happens as we go. When I came to this world I was an infant without teeth, but then I developed into a child who learned to walk and talk, who learned to ask for things and express wishes which, most of the time, were not fulfilled.
Then the time came when I learned to take care of myself and my sisters and before I knew it was time for me to start going to school. Unfortunately, my schooling didn’t last long. Like many other girls I had to quit going to school due to the Serbian police persecution towards us at that time. I didn’t attend the classes every day because my family thought that my safety was more important than my education. I used to read books, that my uncle brought from different European countries, to pass the time. Sometimes I even helped with the household tasks and I even wanted to help the men. A strong woman, huh? My will to work was stronger than I was. I was a daydreamer. Why shouldn’t I dream? I always was passionate about becoming a singer but I knew that I would never become one therefore I just kept on dreaming. No one could ever stop me from dreaming. Some might think that I fought for my dream but, in fact I didn’t.
I became a grown woman in the blink of an eye and my story has just begun. I got married at the age of 17. I was quite happy although I didn’t expect to be. In 1998 I had my first child...I was a mother now. It was the most wonderful feeling that I ever felt...a true gift! I didn’t have long to enjoy this new chapter in my life because war started soon after I had my child. The fear of losing my husband still hunts me to this day. He was abducted and beaten by the Serbs. My family and I went to Macedonia after we were forced to flee our home. In May, 1999 I had my second child, a girl. After the war ended we returned to our home in Kosovo. Two years after that I gave birth to my second son. Being a mother of three made me stronger.
In 2001 my daughter was diagnosed with cancer in her eye. We lived in very poor conditions so we didn’t have the money to send her to a foreign country for treatment. After a few failed surgeries at the hospital in Pristina, KFOR helped us to send our daughter to Italy. The doctors there couldn’t save my daughter’s eye but she beat cancer after receiving chemotherapy for 14 months. During the time that I spent in Italy I tried to learn as much as possible about my daughter’s condition. I learned ways to support her and be there for her. It was so difficult for me to watch my daughter in pain and not being able to help her. I felt hopeless! But, she was cured thank God.
Regardless of the poor conditions that we lived in, my family and I were happy. We didn’t have much except for each other and we soon learned that happiness doesn’t come from possessions but from the people who surround you. After my husband found employment our lives changed for the better.
It is known that motherhood is a lifetime job. In addition to being their mother, I had to become a teacher and psychologist for my children. Especially for my daughter who needed so much of my attention. She was a very lonely child because she felt different. Other children would stare at her and mock her. She didn’t know what was it that she was guilty of. I understood that I had to prepare her for every challenge and every difficulty that she might encounter in life. It was difficult in the beginning for both of us however, she started going out more and got used to being among other children. She didn’t feel like the one-eyed girl any longer. In 2010 I gave birth to another boy. This changed our lives significantly. My family and I lived a simple life and we did a lot of farming. In 2015 we decided to start farming raspberries. It is very hard work but also rewarding.
In 2016 I started attending the classes at the Women for Women International. It was here where I started using my voice and helped other women use theirs, too. We established our own women’s association called “Infinit” here in our village Zaskok. This is a huge step for these women.
I want to change the way women think, to help them find solutions and opportunities, to give them the chance to be themselves, to be free and not fall victim to prejudice etc.
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.
I found my strength from the bad things that happened to me but I found hope from all the other good things that happened in my life.
I am so grateful to my family for their support. I am also grateful to Women for Women International for making me believe in myself and made me realize that life is long and that I must start working harder than ever.
In this life, you must be just and accept the help of others even when you think you don’t need it. I accepted the help of Women for Women International who made me understand that there are ways for me to use my voice other than singing. I can use my voice to speak the truth and say what is right”.