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Cultivating a Brighter Future for Ixil Women: Catarina's Story

Muixil members of the Farming for the Future project. � Muixil

We recently heard the story of an Indigenous Guatemalan woman named Catarina. We're sharing it with you to show just what your support has meant–to one woman among many.

Before Guatemala's devastating civil war reached her, Catarina lived peacefully with her family in a community called Nebaj.

But when the terrible violence spread to their village, Catarina and her two daughters fled to the mountains–where they faced disease, sickness, cold and extreme hunger.

"We were chased by soldiers, we always tried to hide. There were constant bombings. My daughter Rosa was good and healthy but one day, a bomb fell near my daughter Rosa and now she is deaf, " said Catarina.

Lacking food, Catarina and her daughters struggled to survive. Often, they were forced to subsist off a meager diet of wilted herbs and plants.

But Catarina no longer has to worry about feeding her children. Now, she has the essential skills and means to provide for her family, thanks to your support of Farming for the Future.

MADRE works with Muixil, a grassroots group of Indigenous Ixil women in Guatemala. Together, MADRE and Muixil created Farming for the Future, establishing small chicken farms as a source of income and nutrition for Ixil women and their families. Catarina was able to start her own chicken farm, selling eggs and using the proceeds to put her daughters in school.

Thanks to the success of Farming for the Future, MADRE and Muixil hope to double the number of participants in the chicken farming project to at least 100 women in the next year.

What's more, Catarina has had the chance to participate in trainings where she learned about her human rights, including the right to vote.

"Before, I was very poor and scared, I never spoke. But Muixil accepted me, and I participate in trainings and meetings. Now I participate in the community, and I have no fear. I know I have the same rights as men. I received the support from Muixil, and I thank all the women who help us in other countries far away, " said Catarina.