At Isaac Watts we support Commitment For Life's work in Central America. Here is an update from the end of last Autumn:-

Irma Raimundo can often be found in her garden, tending her plants. But for Irma, gardening is not a hobby - it's a way of ensuring her children have enough to eat.

Irma and her family are indigenous Chorti people, a marginalised community who live in the mountain villages of Chiquimula, Guatemala. It's breathtakingly beautiful, but the land is steep and rocky, so it's difficult to farm. Unsurprisingly, 62% of children are malnourished. There are few jobs in this remote area, so many men migrate in search of work.

Christian Aid's partner Betania helps families like Irma's to set up vegetable gardens using native seeds and fast-growing crops. As well as tomatoes and radishes, Irma also grows traditional leafy plants, such as hierba mora and chipilin, which are packed with iron and calcium essential for her children's growth.

Irma's garden has made a huge difference to her family's health. Sandra, her eldest daughter, is now six, but from a young age she was very ill with chronic malnutrition. "Sandra was going to die," Irma says quietly.

Thanks to the new diet, Irma has seen a massive improvement in Sandra's health.

Irma's younger daughter, Ingrid, is also benefiting from Betania's work. Ingrid is two years younger than Sandra, but she is almost as tall and weighs more than her big sister. Irma attributes this to the better diet.

She explains; "When I was pregnant with Ingrid I ate better, she weighed eight pounds when she was born. Sandra only weighed five and a half pounds - she was already malnourished".

As well as getting help with her garden, Irma attended Betania's workshops, where she learned about hygiene, food preparation and ways to incorporate vegetables in the family's meals. There's been much change for Irma, too. She is much more confident, and has hope that her children will grow up healthy.

Betania has also brought communities together to plant crops on communal land. "It's a reserve," Irma explains. "(The crops) can be sold or given as a loan when peoples' crops fail and they have nothing to eat".

Campaign Update: One million ways:-
During last autumn Commitment For Life campaigners were busy demanding action on climate change, alongside thousands of others worldwide.

In September they were part of the world's largest ever climate march, with hundreds of thousands taking to the streets. Two days later 120 world leaders gathered in New York and made bold pledges - but these must be followed with action.

In October, hundreds of churches got involved in a Hunger for Justice weekend, praying and acting together, and asking MPs to do the same.

The year ahead is an important one, and there are plenty of ways to be involved in putting pressure on leaders to make an ambitious and fair global deal for a safer climate. You can go online to see highlights from Hunger for Justice, find ways to get involved, and look out for more details about an exciting moment in June when there will be a gathering to meet the new government and put climate change at the top of the agenda (visit christianaid.org.uk/climate).

Summary of Commitment For Life Newsletter