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Stories of transformation >> Aliona Ostrov
Aliona Ostrov (08.05.2011)

Aliona Ostrov


Location: Floresti, Moldova

Family: Married, ten children

Type of Business: Greenhouses /Agriculture

Loans from CAMED: 5 small-business loans

Loan Amounts:

    - $770 (11,000 MDL)  

   - $2,590 (34,000 MDL)  

   - $3,650 (44,500 MDL)           

   - $2,460 (30,000 MDL)  

   - $5,800 (60,000 MDL)

 Aliona’s Story:  When Aliona Ostrov’s husband was unable to find work in Moldova, he sought work abroad in Russia - an all too common scenario for Moldova.  Aliona was left to care for their eight children on her own. Seeking a way to provide income for her family and still be present to meet her children’s needs, Aliona started a greenhouse business.

In 2006, when Aliona first heard of Invest Credit through a brother in her church, she took out her first loan.  She purchased the materials necessary to construct one greenhouse and the watermelon seeds needed for the initial crop.  She also hired her first employee to help tend the greenhouse and manage the new business.  After only a year, Aliona was able to take out another loan and add two more greenhouses to her business. Subsequent loans allowed her to purchase a car for transporting the produce, repair the wood frames and replace the plastic coverings of the greenhouses, and purchase a small tractor, or motobloc.  She also decided to diversify her produce and began to cultivate tomatoes and cucumbers as well.

Aliona’s business now includes five greenhouses that hold about 3,000 tomato plants total and seven hectares of field (three that she owns and four more that she rents).  The business produces tomatoes, cucumbers, and watermelons. Aliona utilizes a special farming technique called “agril” to produce an early crop of watermelons.  This enables her to take advantage of the higher market prices by selling her watermelons at the very start of the season. 

Entrepreneurial Impact: Instead of carrying her produce to multiple markets and constantly operating market stands, Aliona has developed partnerships with multiple retailers.  She sells her yield wholesale to two stable partners in her region and to retailers in various other regions. This allows her to focus on efficiently producing a quality crop, and most importantly, allows her to spend time with her ten children. 

The business has grown so much that Aliona now employs six full-time employees and three seasonal employees. She has also cared for two orphans, providing them with a home and a place of employment.  She always provides her employees with some of the yield from each harvest in addition to their normal salaries. 

Family and Community Impact:

The business now has a gross income of over 200,000 lei per year.  The growing income has not only enabled Aliona to expand the business, but it has also enabled her to meet the needs of her family and help her community.   In 2007, Aliona was able to install new windows and doors in her family’s home.

Aliona started her business in response to the challenges prevalent in Moldova from unemployment and families split apart by work abroad. She started small and was able to provide financially for her family, while being physically present as well.  Now, her husband has been able to return to Moldova and they are working to grow the business together.

Their family grew and they now have ten children.  The business has helped them to cover the medical expenses of their eighteen year-old daughter who struggles with epilepsy.  They also took cared for two orphans for a brief time period. 

Spiritual Impact: Many challenges have come to both her family and her business.  In addition to the challenges of providing for her family, her first crop of watermelons was severely damaged by an unexpected hailstorm, and the damage depleted the business’s profits that season. Yet in the midst of it all, she states that she has experienced God’s faithfulness.

When she is not involved with her business or caring for her family, she volunteers at her church. She cleans the church about ten hours per week and helps with organizing religious holidays.  

Aliona rejoices to be able to contribute part of her income back to her church. Her testimony has been a light to many people in her community. Aliona says that through her trials, she has experienced God’s faithfulness and others are beginning to see that all blessings come from God.  As she treasures each of her ten children, others have begun to see that each child is a blessing from God and that He will provide no matter how many you have. She prays, along with her family and employees, for God’s blessing and gives him the praise for all that she has been blessed with. 

Future Ambitions:  Aliona has plans for strengthening and expanding her business.  She hopes to take out another Invest-Credit loan to purchase a tractor. It would bring much more efficiency to cultivating the watermelon fields and strengthen her business.  Her vision for expansion is to add a small livestock farm and to hire a manager for it.  The agricultural focus of the business results in a seasonality of income, but the addition of a livestock farm would provide stability to the business.  In particular, it would create income even during the winter months.

 Aliona is hopeful for the future, and committed to growing her business as much as she can.  She looks forward to continuing to share her blessings of employment, income, food, and faith with her family, her church, her employees, and her community members.