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The mum who transformed an entire community

How one inspiring mum has been helping to prevent child malnutrition in her neighbourhood in Guatemala.

Written by Agnes McGrane | 29 Oct 2021

Credit: Caroline Trutmann/Tearfund

Griselda is living out God’s call to love her neighbours by supporting new mothers in her community. Thanks to her, child malnutrition is being prevented, safe hygiene messages are being promoted, and women are receiving vital support as they adapt to motherhood.

‘On many occasions I went through very hard times and I did not know who I could lean on,’ remembers Griselda, from Guatemala. She knows first-hand the challenges of raising young children on her own. ‘I felt very lonely... I felt that there were no opportunities for me. I didn't have a job, I had nothing.’

Sometimes, Griselda couldn’t afford to buy enough food for her two young daughters, let alone buy medicine when they got sick.

Tearfund’s local partner, AMI San Lucas, were able to support Griselda in her time of need. They taught her about nutrition and how to grow different vegetables in her own garden to make healthy meals for her children. They also helped her raise chickens so the family now has a constant supply of eggs, which they can eat or sell.

Griselda and her daughter feed their chickens, which are providing their family with daily eggs and extra income | Credit: Caroline Trutmann/Tearfund

Paying it forward

Griselda was so thankful for the help that she had received that she wanted to bless others in her community. 

‘Just as they’ve helped me, so I would like to help more people. I don't want other people to go through what I went through,’ says Griselda.

Griselda has a strong faith, and is passionate about sharing God’s love with others in practical ways.

‘It is important to serve others because God serves all of us, whether we are good or bad.  Loving our neighbours is very important,’ she says. 

Our local partner trained Griselda to become a community health worker for new and expectant mothers. She now visits a group of 15 women in her community, supporting them from the start of their pregnancy until their children are two years old. 

Helping children thrive

In Griselda’s remote village, most people rely on seasonal farming work and earn very little. Due to a lack of nutritious food, child malnutrition is a common problem. This can stunt development, lead to lifelong problems, and can be fatal.

To counter malnutrition, Griselda shares her knowledge with new mothers and teaches them how to grow a variety of vegetables. This helps families earn extra money, as well as ensuring that children are eating healthy meals. She also shares good hygiene practices to prevent the spread of diseases.

Griselda watches out for any signs of malnutrition in the children, and refers them to the medical clinic run by our local partner if necessary. This means that malnutrition cases are prevented, or else are detected and treated quickly, so that all of the children in the community can thrive.

Griselda visits new mothers and their babies, providing health advice and support | Credit: Caroline Trutmann/Tearfund

Written by

Written by  Agnes McGrane

Dreams coming true

‘My dream for my community is that the women who come to my group become people who know how to take care of their children and our community,’ says Griselda. 

That dream is now becoming a reality.  All the children Griselda has been visiting are healthy and developing well, and the mothers are learning valuable skills which can help lift their families out of poverty.

Griselda is a wonderful example of the difference one person can make to a whole community. Her willingness to give her time, care and knowledge has made a profound impact upon her neighbours. 

Let’s lift Griselda and her community up in prayer, and consider how we can love our own neighbours in practical ways.

Pray with us

Dear God,

Thank you for Griselda and her dedication to helping others in her community. Thank you that so many mothers and children have been supported. We ask that they will continue to thrive. 

God, you have commanded us all to love our neighbours. Please reveal to us what that looks like in our everyday lives. Thank you for all the skills and resources you have given us; please show us how we can use them to bless others. 

In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

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