By Luis CocÛn, communications center liaison for CFCA in Guatemala
Recently CFCA’s Hermano Pedro project in Guatemala organized its first public market called “Hope for a family market.”
More than 200 mothers of sponsored children showed up to sell their goods, and more than 400 people in the community of Santo Domingo came to purchase and taste a wide variety of products and services.
Local CFCA staff members in Santo Domingo organized the market to showcase the products that mothers of sponsored children have grown from CFCA’s sustainable sponsorship benefits, such as seeds, trees, animals, fertilizer, fabrics, livelihood programs, etc.
In this way mothers sold items such as corn, beans, bananas, plantains, herbs, chili peppers, tangerines, papaya, oranges, watermelon, yucca, chocolate, coffee, cheese, sausages, tamales, fruit drinks, baskets, hens, chickens, turkeys, napkins, clothing and much more.
“We no longer give a bag of food, but sustainable sponsorship benefits,” said Josefina Poz, coordinator of the CFCA community in Santo Domingo. “That is what we are seeing today, the results of those benefits. We have seen families convinced that they can work this way. They are not satisfied just with receiving things; now they are motivated to work and produce, and that motivates us.”
This activity has also allowed these mothers to meet and learn from one another as well as create income for their families. Another important benefit was their gathering to have fun, share common experiences and feel part of a community.
Edgar, 17, is sponsored through CFCA and is in the CFCA Scholarship Program.
“My mother and I have come to sell cheese,” he said. “This market helps us because in our village it is hard to sell the cheese and today we have already sold 6 pounds. I am happy because we learned many things, and this motivates me to continue my studies, help my mother and have fun.”
Paulina has two sponsored children: Maria, 15, and Paulina, 8.
Paulina learned to produce chocolate and “cafÈ de maÌz,” a coffee-like drink made from a mixture of cereals including corn. She now sells these items in the market.
“I feel happy because this shows that women are able to provide for our children,” Paulina said. “We are able to have a business and not be completely dependent on our husbands’ income. We can contribute to the economy of our home.”
The CFCA staff in Santo Domingo was satisfied with this market and hopes to repeat the activity in six months.
Through these events, CFCA is working to strengthen the self-esteem and confidence of the families in the sponsorship program. As families find resources for self-sufficiency, this empowers them and gives them hope for the future.