Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Strong Women, Strong Mothers
Written by Family Aid Coordinator, Anna Aspenson
A mother’s job is never easy. Every day at Mayan Families we witness the courage of mothers fighting for their families despite extreme poverty. This Mother’s Day, we want to honor two particular women that exemplify strength and caring.
Stepping in for her family: Esmeralda’s Story
Like many of the women we work with, Esmeralda came to our office because she had nowhere else to turn. Her mother passed away in childbirth, leaving Esmeralda to care for her six siblings and two newborn twin sisters. After her mother’s death, her father wanted to give away her baby sisters. Esmeralda refused; Sara and Andrea were her mother’s last gifts and she was not prepared to give them up. She gave up her domestic job in Guatemala City and started weaving to support her family.
“No one was helping us. Our father wasn’t helping us. I was nervous and worried but our neighbor said Mayan Families may be able to do something,” said Esmeralda.
Mayan Families Director of Family Aid Lety Chiroy met Esmeralda in the Panajachel office, and was touched by her story. The online Mayan Families community mobilized, and donated money through the Family Aid Department for Esmeralda. In addition to receiving a month’s worth of food and formula for her sisters, Esmeralda will start attending workshops with our Well Mother, Well Baby Program.
“I feel much better,”said Esmeralda. “I am learning little by little how to care for my sisters and how to provide the best nutrition for them.”
Rebuilding After Tragedy: Luisa’s Story
Another strong mother, Luisa Solis, has demonstrated nothing but bravery after the death of her husband, who was an alcoholic and struggled with his mental health. One day he decided to commit suicide and destroyed all of their things. She was seven months pregnant with her daughter, Ana Marivel, at the time, and had to care for both Ana Marivel and her six other children on her own. Luisa was devastated, and couldn’t remember the fifteen days afterwards because of the shock.
Luisa and her family are still fighting to recover. Luisa works washing clothes, and although her son Fredy and daughter Juana dropped out of school to work, the family still only makes about $3 a day. Luckily, four of her children are still in school and Ana Marivel is now three years old.
Throughout these difficult years, they have lacked the resources to restore their home from the tragedy. They do not have any beds or utensils for the kitchen. The children have very few clothes. Luisa and her baby Ana both suffer from anemia, which means sometimes they feel very weak. When we talked to Luisa, she told us that her family had not eaten that day.
What can you do?
Please consider giving to the General Family Aid Fund, so that we can provide the same hope and care for Luisa and her family that Esmeralda has received.
$20 would provide medical attention for the family
$100 would provide them with nutritious dietary staples for one month
$186 would provide a safe, fuel-efficient stove for their home
$200 would give them new kitchen supplies and clothes
Hundreds of mothers in rural Guatemala are struggling to give their families the best future possible, against all odds.