IMG_6956In honor of Mother’s Day and our #MyMama campaign, we reached out to our beneficiaries, asking them for stories of empowered mamas that are leading positive change in their communities. We received one story from the Western Highlands of Guatemala that we hope inspires you as much as it inspires us.

When we asked Heidy Elcira Armas Vasquez (far left), from the municipality San Antonio Huista, Guatemala how important her mama, Elvira Vasquez is, she quickly summed it up, describing her in three words:

“Loving, affectionate, and special.”

Answering without hesitation, it was clear how important her mama is to her. Continuing on, Heidy told us she remembers each and every lesson her mama taught her, as far back as she can remember. The biggest lesson? “We must learn from our failures, we must not grow like a crooked tree, but grow straight and tall.”

When she was younger, she remembered her mama always participated in community meetings, and played a key role in education and electricity projects to better her community.

Heidy is a participant in PCI’s PAISANO program in Guatemala, which seeks to improve food security for 26,000 households by increasing income sources and strengthening nutrition. With the support of PAISANO, Heidy sees the opportunity to develop her own strengths as a woman and is working to provide a better life for her daughter. She boldly states “we

[women] don’t have to be in the kitchen, we can play important roles in our community.”

To that end, she is a member of a community savings group and is proud to know that she is now playing a key role in her own community, following in the footsteps of her mama.

Heidy has also now decided to study agronomy, after seeing her mama working with her father on the family farm. As a result, she will be bringing additional income and food to help support her own family, just like her mama.

Heidy smiles and tells us that whenever she feels she is faltering on her path, she draws strength from another lesson her mama taught her: “Go forward and always follow your dreams.”