Not Abandoned, Empowered

Contrary to what Elena feared when her husband abandoned her and their five children, new farming knowledge and skills are enabling the family to have a much better life than before he left.

Elena is no stranger to hardship. She was born in the midst of the Guatemalan Civil War 36 years ago, and was raised in the mountains as her family lived in isolation to escape the violence. They got by, through farming. Around the time the conflict ended, she returned to village life, married, and had children of her own, but lived in extreme poverty.

When Elena suddenly found herself a single mother who had to support the family on her own, she returned to planting corn and beans. She was then fortunate enough to meet Petrona, a promoter for the CODI and CIEDEG food security programs, who invited her to receive training in increasing the variety of foods she grew for nutrition and profit.

Elena smiles as she says, “The program trained me and guided me on diversifying my little farm. I’m now producing green peppers, chili peppers, jalapeños, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, beet, chard, radish, coriander, pumpkin, and other products. I feel happy with the work I do in my garden and my greenhouse, because it means I can feed my children, and earn an income selling what I grow at the local market every Saturday.” She also weaves güipiles (traditional blouses for women) and other clothes for sale.

She is grateful for all she has learned, “Now I feel more motivated and have hope for the future.” Elena will soon take part in a sheep husbandry project to further diversify her farm and strengthen her skills and abilities.

Guatemala Nebaj Quetzaltenango Program
Led by Church World Service and Local Partners CIEDEG and CODI

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