Vegetable seeds provided by Seed Programs International will grow fresh organic vegetables for 10 Maya Ixil widows in great need of nutrition and income, so each can grow more than 500 fresh vegetable servings. Guatemalan Ixil Maya children suffer an 85% malnutrition rate. A long civil war left families shattered and no way for widows to escape poverty and malnutrition for themselves or their children.
Ixil communities are still recovering from ten years of persecution that left many families broken.Today, Ixil farmers are organized into a coffee-producers organization and are working toward income improvement, but this does not address the lack of nutritious food for widows and their children. Many vegetable gardens are unplanted due to a lack of seeds. It is hard manual labor to make a garden on steep mountain sides that need to be cleared of brush, dug out by hand and terraced.
Ten Ixil widows and their children will have new access to nutritious organic vegetables by receiving seeds, a hoe, and a younger helper. Critical family income is increased through cash or barter of surplus produce in the local markets. Seed banks and vegetable starts will be combined with education to provide for sustainability. Widows and their children will have new access to barter for medicine and pay school tuition for their children.
Widows, their children, and youth helpers will learn traditional Mayan organic farming and new methods in composting and soil improvement. Seed banks will ensure long term sustainability, support a strong education program, economic development, and increased food security