Provide Organic Gardens for 20 Indigenous Women

by Kateri Tekakwitha Fund
Vetted
Candelaria at the Pacifica Gardens
Candelaria at the Pacifica Gardens

Candelaria, the manager of the Organic Gardening Project, has just returned from a five month visit to the U. S.  During her visit, she worked with the Pacifica Community Gardens.  The project has been in operation for many years and has a wealth of knowledge to share. 

Candelaria had some basic ideas about composting before she arrived, but no  practical experience..  While in Pacifica, she was able to put the information to use and learn from the experienced composters at the Pacifica Gardens.  Now back in Guatemala, she is ready to pass that knowledge on to the women.  They learned that manure was useful as fertilizer for their gardens.  Now they will learn how to put what they consider garbage to use as well.

When I was in Guatemala, I was able to visit the women and was impressed with their enthusiasm.  I know that Candelaria is happy to be back at work!

Raised Bed Gardens Planted with Potatoes
Raised Bed Gardens Planted with Potatoes
Studying the Microbes Active in Composting
Studying the Microbes Active in Composting
Explaining her Guatemalan Project to Jasmine
Explaining her Guatemalan Project to Jasmine
Sharing Information with a Garden Volunteer
Sharing Information with a Garden Volunteer
Candelaria, Manuela, Josefa stir their substances
Candelaria, Manuela, Josefa stir their substances

This month, the women of Chumanzana learned how to prepare organic fertilizer, insecticide and fungicide. They had been looking forward to this demonstration for a while now. Thanks to the previous donations, the women learned how to prepare these resources to prevent pests from their gardens and to ensure their gardens stay healthy and vibrant. During this workshop, the women were enthusiastic to collaborate with one another. They gathered ingredients and worked together to build a fire to boil water in order to prepare fertilizer and insecticide.

Tomasa Mateo and María Isabel said it was a beautiful experience to learn how to create organic fertilizers. They know that this skill will be beneficial for the garden that they share together. After only 3 months of participating in the gardening project, they have already harvested half their garden for their own consumption and they have harvested the other half to sell. The garden feeds their family with nutritious food and provides extra funds for other needs.

There are still several women in Chumanzana on the waiting list, eager to join the gardening project. Please join us on Global Giving’s Bonus Day: Wednesday, June 15th starting at 9:00am EDT to give more indigenous women in Guatemala the opportunity to garden. Your contributions will be matched up to 40% as long as giving funds last! Consider that $25 will provide a woman with start-up funds to invest in her garden and a donation of $50 will help her buy new tools to manager her crops.

Another participant, Manuela says she’s very happy with her garden. She and her family have already enjoyed chard, carrots, and cilantro from her garden. With the help of her daughters, she’s already planted more seeds. Her husband is also very happy and proud of their family garden.

Only after a few months of joining the program, these women have gained invaluable skills that will have a ripple effect in their community. They are gaining knowledge and resources to sustain themselves with nutritional produce. They are improving the nutritional health of not only their families, but inspiring the wider community.

Manuela, ecstatic making organic fertilizer
Manuela, ecstatic making organic fertilizer
Maria and Isabel scrape "jabon negro", soap
Maria and Isabel scrape "jabon negro", soap
Josefa (in blue) distributes tools to new members
Josefa (in blue) distributes tools to new members

When Josefa first joined the organic gardening program she had little knowledge about gardening methods, but now, a year later, she has a vibrant garden that sustains her family and also attracts others in the community. The program has had a strong impact on her personal development and long-term effects on her community.

From student to teacher - Since the beginning, Josefa has been an active participant in the program with an eager attitude to learn. She wanted to gain the skills to sustain herself and her family. She has attended gardening meetings and workshops at least once a week for the past year. Sometimes the women receive external teachings that are not presented in their native tongue. Josefa’s bilingual abilities have been invaluable, as she often translates from Spanish to her native tongue for the rest of the women to learn. Nowadays, she focuses less on her own acquisitions of skills and knowledge, instead she works closely with the gardening project coordinators to teach and mentor new women who’ve joined the group.

Josefa inspires her community - At the beginning of the program all participants are taught that gardens are like babies: they need daily nutrients, care, and dedication to grow. Josefa took this metaphor seriously and because of her great care of her garden, she is known to have a bright and green garden all year round. Several women in the community notice her garden and want that for themselves and are on the waiting list to join the program. Josefa’s mother, sister-in-law and cousins have recently joined the program.

Better nutrients and additional resources for her family - Because Josefa maintains her garden so well, she can provide reliable nutrients to her family. She grows lettuce, onions, radishes, cauliflower, and garlic, to name a few. She also is a reliable resource to her community, as she sells her produce to her neighbors. In addition to saving her earnings for her family, she uses them to buy things that are difficult to grow, like sugar and salt.

Please donate to the project today so you can give women, like Josefa, the opportunity to develop their skills and impact the nutritional health of their community! Funds go directly towards supplies for the women to set-up and maintain their gardens as well as developmental workshops. Consider that $25 will provide a woman start-up funds to invest in her garden!

Josefa
Josefa's cousin and mom, happy in their new garden
Maria with her new gardening tools.
Maria with her new gardening tools.

As the women in  Chumanzana see what the women in the Organic Gardening Project have accomplished more women are eager to join.  The project has grown from seven participants at the beginning to eighteen this year.  The last seven members joined the group in January, 2016.

Typical of the new gardeners is  Maria Isabela.  She is nineteen years old.  She is married and has a son who is a year and a half. She was encouraged to enter the group because she saw benefits of  the garden of her sister,Josefa.  She joined the group to grow food for her family's daily meals and to sell the excess to add to the family income.  She could see that by belonging to the group, she would learn many new things.

Beyong the actual tangible benefit to the women's families, they always are eager to learn new things.  They have not had the opportunity for much formal education, but they are like sponges when they are given the opportunity for new experiences.

These womenn are given these new experiences because of your investment in the Organic Gardening Project.  Candelaria Sut, the woman in charge of the guiding the group, is paid through the funds you donate.  If you can make an additional donation now, we will be able to keep the group going and continue to add participants.  Everything is possible with a little help from a FRIEND!

Candelaria, One of the New Members of the Group
Candelaria, One of the New Members of the Group
Manuela Showing Off her New Gardening Equipment
Manuela Showing Off her New Gardening Equipment
New Participants
New Participants
Don Manuel explains how to plant rotating crops
Don Manuel explains how to plant rotating crops

After taking 3 different buses and travelling for 2-3 hours, the women’s organic gardening group arrived with excitement at “Granja el Mirador” (El Mirador Farm) in San Martin Jilotepeque, Guatemala. The farm, owned by Don Manuel and his wife, is a center dedicated to agroecology practices. Don Manuel and his wife offer experiential-based lessons on organic, ecological, and self-sustaining agriculture. The center also emphasizes the importance of food safety and food sovereignty.

Don Manuel is a strong advocate of equipping his local community with techniques for sustainable practices. He shared his effective approaches to gardening to the group by giving detailed explanations and also giving the opportunity for the women to dig their hands into the soil and try for themselves. Not only did the women develop gardening skills, they also learned how to care for livestock.

Don Manuel’s wife led a cooking activity where the women learned how to gather fresh herbs and vegetables and prepare them into delicious tortas. The women finished the day with smiles on their faces, feeling accomplished and equipped. Don't miss the pictures down below!

The opportunity to visit a nearby thriving farm was invaluable to the women’s organic gardening group. The new skills the women have learned have had a high impact on their families and communities.

The cost to continue the women’s organic group is $100 per month. Please consider setting up a recurring donation to contribute to this project. If 10 donors pledge $10 a month we will meet this goal. Be one of those donors!

 

Don Manuel explains the difference between herbs
Don Manuel explains the difference between herbs
Josefa checks out the zucchini plants
Josefa checks out the zucchini plants
Don Manuel
Don Manuel's wife teaches how to prepare herbs
The women learn how to mix the ingredients
The women learn how to mix the ingredients
Josefa is proud of the finished torta!
Josefa is proud of the finished torta!
 

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Organization Information

Kateri Tekakwitha Fund

Location: Pacifica, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.mission-guatemala.org
Project Leader:
Kay Sweeney
Pacifica, CA United States
$5,495 raised of $8,000 goal
 
 
193 donations
$2,505 to go
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