When 25-year-old Brenda decided to attend workshops on cooking and nutrition, she faced her share of criticism.

Brenda’s mother thought their small Guatemalan community would condemn Brenda for spending time away from her own three children—especially because she is a single mother. She told Brenda that her place was in the home.

But for Brenda, the opportunity to learn new skills was her best chance to ensure a better life for her children.

Nutrition, Cooking and Leadership

The nutrition workshop Brenda joined is part of a PWS&D project designed to help improve the lives of indigenous women and their families, who have long faced discrimination, poverty, violence and other injustices. Other workshops help build self-esteem and community leadership skills.

PWS&D-supported agricultural and nutrition promoters in San Marcos, Guatemala. Photo: PWS&D

Through these workshops, Brenda learned how important it is to feed her children nourishing food like beans, cucumber, radishes and fruit. “When it comes to food, I need to ask myself if it is going to nourish me and my children in any way,” she says. “Before, I would just buy things if they were filling.”

Through cooking demonstrations, Brenda learned how to combine fresh fruits and vegetables into juice, stews and salads that will help her children grow and fight off illness.

For Brenda, leadership training was the most valuable. “People think that a woman can’t hold any leadership positions in society,” she shares. “But in the trainings, I came to understand the importance of learning and that women have rights.”

Empowered by her experience, Brenda is now a nutrition promoter herself, sharing what she’s learned and helping her community experience a healthy life.

When Brenda visits her mother, she will often request the new dishes that Brenda learned to make. “And I make them,” Brenda shares. “Because I know that what I have been taught is better for my health and the health of my family.”

Mothers Empower Others

PWS&D trainings helped Brenda improve her children’s well-being and gain the skills and confidence to help her community thrive. Thank you for empowering mothers!