For indigenous women in Honduras, life is hard. Persistent poverty, high rates of violence, organized crime, and systemic government corruption have had a significant impact on the daily lives of Hondurans. The government has consistently violated the land rights of indigenous people, who have been advocating for better environmental protection of their land.
Discrimination against indigenous people, including indigenous women, is commonplace. Most disturbing are the rising rates of female victims of violence. In Honduras, a woman is killed every 16 hours, and the murder rate among women from 2005 to 2016 rose by 263%. So when World and Renew and MCM offered the women the opportunity to learn new skills and small business management training, they jumped at the chance to improve their lives, and gain much-needed financial and entrepreneurial skills.
The women began working together in communal gardens and share their produce. Soon they were growing vegetables on their patios at home, using old tires and broken buckets. The group’s leaders looked for innovative ways to improve their crops, and even visited another community to learn about using poly-tunnels, small plastic covers that create a microclimate similar to a glass greenhouse.
Realizing the potential to increase their food production, the women applied for a grant from World Renew to begin poly-tunnel gardening, and today their families’ diets are healthier and more diverse. Not only have they improved their health, the women are able to grow enough produce to eat themselves and sell through most of the year.
The women have grown in their entrepreneurial skills and sustainable growing practices, so much so that they are now selling their vegetables to a supermarket chain that wants organic produce. To meet this increased demand for their products, World Renew helped the women double their planting space.
For one woman, named Mirtala (in the image above), joining the garden group proved to be life-changing, and brought her healing despite her hardships in life. “It was a lovely process, planting seeds, for gardens, and for communities. There is a practical benefit, and a spiritual benefit,” she said.
Through the group, the women have grown in confidence and learned that they have a powerful voice. Now, they also speak up for justice by taking part in opportunities to talk to government leaders. “I would have never thought that I’d go and sit with government representatives and hold them to rights, but now I do. The government has got a responsibility, and they have resources. And we put in our part, our labour, we have a responsibility too. The work with World Renew has trained us to open those doors to government support, and to solving our own problems” shared Mirtala.
Through World Renew, these strong women gardeners are planting seeds of powerful economic and social change that will launch them, and their community, out of poverty.
Thank you for joining World Renew for International Development Week in standing together for gender equality, supporting women like Mirtala be empowered to support getting themselves and their community out of poverty. At World Renew, we welcome your support as we, through God’s grace, work to give opportunities for all people, regardless of gender, to grow in skills and knowledge to create a better, more equal, more prosperous future.
This story could also be found in the 2018 Ministry Report
In Honduras, a woman is killed every 16 hours, and the murder rate among women from 2005 to 2016 rose by 263%
Source of statistic: https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/03/01/honduran-women-are-leading-rights-revolution-how-many-lives-will-it-cost-them