Single Mother Grows Hope

Written by
FH staff writer
Published on
October 17, 2023 at 2:31:00 PM PDT October 17, 2023 at 2:31:00 PM PDTth, October 17, 2023 at 2:31:00 PM PDT

When María’s husband unexpectedly passed away, she and her daughters, Yamilin (6) and Ana (3), moved back in with her aging mother and two sisters.

María describes the limitations her all-female household faces: “There are not many work opportunities in the community, just a few seasonal opportunities during the year that we as women can work in, like corn fertilization or harvesting.”

In remote communities like Chisis, it’s common to see women and young children working in the fields as day labourers, losing the opportunity to study or having to work and study at the same time.

Since she was a child, María learned to earn her own money. “For a long time I have been weaving. My sisters and I dedicate our time to this. We make güipiles (traditional blouses) and scarfs; this is our main source of income. We all cooperate to make our ends meet and to sustain our family.”

They also tried growing their own food. María says, “Without knowledge in planting other types of crops [like] vegetables and fruits, we had to buy [food] in the market. The long distance between our community and the main town of Cotzal makes it difficult to purchase food, seeds, and fertilizer because the transportation fees are very high.”

Food security for rural families like María’s continues to be an issue. Through organic, family vegetable gardens, however, families can gain access to available, fresh food.

So, María joined FH’s program, Nutrition For My Family. “Nutrition For My Family is an opportunity to learn and produce my own food in my garden. With this, I can have another source of income and support my family. All the resources that are necessary to grow [food] we have at hand,” says María.

María now leads a group of 10 other farmers—teaching, mentoring, and encouraging families in her community toward a sustainable way of life.

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