Stories of Change

Top: Josefa in her greenhouse Middle: Josefa (right) with other program participants. Bottom: Josefa shows hold up vegetation grown in her garden

Guatemalan Communities Are Flourishing Together

Josefa Pérez and her husband, who live in a rural town in Guatemala, have been farming the land near their home for more than a decade. While they have worked tirelessly to care for their crops and land, they hadn’t seen any major improvements until about a year ago when they participated in our Seeds of Hope for Nutritional Food Security Program. 

Along with members of 917 other families, Josefa attended classes through this program. She learned to plant in more sustainable ways, reduce toxins and increase production so that she maximizes her crop production and increases her income. Through the program, Josefa learned about the benefits of using greenhouses and was invited to receive one for her own garden. She shared, “now we harvest the tomatoes inside the greenhouse, which gives us better results. It’s not the same as planting them outdoors. We had no idea, but CWS and the CECG came to teach us. We also learned to care for the land and fertilize it. We feel satisfied because we saw a change.”

Josefa lives every day with the intention of caring for her family. She wakes up at sunrise at 6 a.m to make breakfast for her six children, clean the house and feed her chickens. She then walks over to see her blooming garden in which she is growing broccoli, cabbage, celery and escarole. These crops allow Josefa to not only improve her income but the quality of life she can provide for her family. 

For Josefa, one of the biggest benefits of her blooming garden is that she no longer needs to worry about food insecurity. She explains, “the most important thing about working the land is that you don’t have to buy food in the market. My family has food. And if there is any surplus, we sell it.”  Now that Josefa has improved the quality of life for her family, she is encouraging her children to dream big and pursue the goals she wasn’t able to pursue. She told us, “I tell them that education is what is going to serve them the most. I would like to be able to read but I can’t, I don’t know how.” Despite the challenges she has faced in her life, Josefa is now paving a path for her children to dream of a better future. 

Along with our partners, we are helping other families in the Departments of Quiché and Quetzaltenango, where Josefa and her family live, to grow their own gardens. So far we have helped 590 families build gardens and 30 to build greenhouses. We have also delivered a variety of vegetable seeds which include coriander, radish, beets, chard, spinach and more. Since the implementation of the program, we saw gardens flourish so we decided to develop a community market. The market is an opportunity for neighbors to support one another by buying and selling their products to each other. With seeds of hope, we are seeing a community grow and flourish together. 

This program was implemented by CWS and our local partner Conference of Evangelical Churches of Guatemala. We thank Growing Hope Globally for their generous support.