In the Central American nation of Guatemala, Sister Judith Noone, MM works to empower women through education, community-building, food support, and holistic healing practices.
Sister Judith has been on mission in Guatemala since 1985, helping the country rebuild after a violent civil war. Her mission work these days is with the local diocese in the San Marcos area, where opportunities have bypassed women for a long time. “I think poverty is a constant and all-pervasive challenge, because even if women realize that they can do more than what they’re doing, they’re very limited by their economic situations.”
Her mission is based around monthly group meetings for support and sharing. “We designed a project that would benefit girls and young women—not excluding boys and young men… but it was principally for girls because they have less chance to get an education. Our project includes vegetable gardens, formation programs for teachers, sports teams, community libraries, and reforestation,” Sister says.
The women’s empowerment groups have had a significant and tangible effect on the lives of the participants. Women who want to start small businesses receive mentorship, and sometimes small loans, through the mission.
One of these is Lorena, who was among the earliest participants. She started a vegetable garden, hothouse and chicken coop at her home in the village of Esquipulas Palo Gordo. This tiny farm is now productive enough to not only feed her family, but to provide surplus that she can sell at the market. More than a dozen other women in the area have followed her example.
YOUR GIFT will help support gender equality and empower women!
These women want to do more things… they want to step out of their traditional roles of being in the kitchen,” Sister Judith says. “But poverty holds them back. Our Maryknoll community has empowered us to empower other women, and that extends to the way we live with the women we meet in this diocese of San Marcos.”
Sister Judith and her colleagues need your help to expand their programs and outreach. A dollar stretches further in Guatemala than it does in the U.S., so your offering will have a greater impact on the lives of these women.
May God bless you for your caring, your prayers and your support, and may He grant you a healthy and happy New Year!