Messenger Feb 2018Isabel in her vegetable gardenGuatemala is one of the most unequal places in Latin America, and indigenous groups are some of the worst affected. Over half the people living in poverty in Guatemala are indigenous, and 8 out of 10 indigenous children are seriously malnourished.


Isabel Catinac Xum is 63 years old. She's from an indigenous community in central Guatemala. Isabel says, 'My life has been hard, ever since I can remember. I never went to school because I had to help my mother at home.' Isabel was married at 13 and had 10 children. She was determined that her own children would go to school, so as well as farming she started a business to earn money for the fees, buying and selling handicrafts. But life is hard in Isabel's community. Over the last decades, she's witnessed how climate change can devastate her crops and her community. 'Sometimes I haven’t been able to have a good harvest', she says. Fortunately, Isabel received training from Christian Aid's partner the Confederation of NGO and Cooperatives. She learnt how to grow crops which resist climate change. She now grows a variety of crops, from corn and beans to peaches, lemons and local herbs. 'Through these courses I have been able to excel and support myself. I know that I am providing the best for my family, since I use organic fertilisers and I no longer buy chemicals. All of our seeds are native and are sacred to us.'

'I know that I am providing the best for my family'

Isabel believes that young people have the power to fight climate change and preserve nature. Because of this, she’s committed to passing on her ancestral practices and her love for the land. Thank you for your support for women like Isabel. Your generosity has helped them to thrive in the face of climate change.