SPI has been partnering with Amachajul, a grassroots, community organization run by local Guatemalans to support holistic development for rural, indigenous communities. This program supported an Ixil Mayan indigenous community near Chajul, Guatemala. Chajul is located in the Ixil region and is an isolated city surrounded by mountains. We partnered to build a greenhouse for a rural school to teach the school children and community members about agriculture and to supplement the students’ school lunches with nutrtious vegetables.
The Ixil region has maintained its rich Maya traditions and heritage, despite being at the heart of a 36-year civil war that involved ethnic cleansing of the Ixil people. Post-war challenges are still felt today, with land displacement, fragmented families, and emotional trauma. 80% of the Chajul population lives in poverty, with high unemployment rates, and few opportunities for women. The community has a corn- and coffee-based agricultural economy. Adults often struggle to feed their families with adequate nutrition, thus complicating healthy development, school attendance, and work productivity.
Hurricanes in 2019 brought flash flooding that destroyed most crops. These flash floods, and other factors, have washed away much of the top soil rich in nutrients essential to healthy agricultural production. SPI partnered with Amachajul in the past to create household gardens, however these gardens were no longer sustainable due to the flash flooding. Instead, a greenhouse was constructed at the school in Buena Vista to support year-round vegetable production.
Buena Vista is a community that is a full day walk from the closest town center, making it extremely remote and rural. Through this project, Buena Vista school became a community center for nutrient-rich vegetables for school lunches and for community members to take home. The greenhouse is also being used for vegetable growing workshops to teach school children and community members about vegetables and agriculture. Students helped prepare the soil, transplant the vegetable plants, and care for the plants as they grew. This program supplemented their school curriculum and provided a hands-on learning opportunity for the students.
We look forward to expanding these greenhouses in rural, food-insecure indigenous communities throughout the region with Amachajul.
Stay tuned for additional updates on our partner programs. If you would like to support these programs, please visit our Donation page: https://seedprograms.org/donate-now/. Thank you for your support!