Agros International works in Central America and Mexico to restore hope and dignity to communities that have been devastated by extreme poverty, brutal civil wars, unjust politics, and biased social systems. I was honored to have the opportunity to travel to three Agros communities in Guatemala and document how lives are being transformed through Agros’ unique, holistic model of community development.This woman wears traditional clothing of the Ixil region in Guatemala. More people are leaving rural areas and moving to cities than at any other time in history. In the midst of this massive migration, cultural distinctions are being lost. Through working to strengthen rural communities, Agros is simultaneously encouraging the preservation of the wonderful traditions and customs that make each region unique.
Angelina surveys her organic coffee farm, which she owns with her husband. The profits from selling coffee have made it possible for her to send her children to school.
This woman has partnered with other women from her community to start a business making and selling sausages. According to the UN Millennium Development Goals, rural women lead much tougher lives than either rural men or those living in cities. Agros partners with women in its communities to establish banks that provide equitable access to credit, with the goal of making it possible for these women to begin income-generating businesses. The profits from these businesses are invested back into their families and their community.
Sunrise at Nueva Providencia, Guatemala.
A family waits for a ride back to their village.
As a child, Maria dreamt of going to college. Her parents, however, had lost everything in Guatemala’s brutal civil war and didn’t have the resources to send her to school. Through her hard work and partnership with Agros, she earned a college scholarship. Though she could have found work in the city, after graduation she decided to return to her community and work at the local school, inspiring her students to dream bi
Lack of education and economic opportunities leads many families to choose begging as a means of supporting themselves. This boy’s disability amplifies the already tremendous challenge of finding work, as much of the work available for those without an education is in construction or other forms of manual labor. Agros is working to provide new opportunities to families struggling against the wave of generational poverty.
At the Agros Training Center in the Ixil region of Guatemala, these men package green coffee beans and prepare them for export. Guatemala grows some one of the world’s most sought-after beans, and many of the sacks in this photograph are filled with coffee grown by Agros community members.
Still green, these coffee beans have a tough, almost rubbery texture. However, artisan roasters around the world know that green beans from Guatemala have the potential to become a superb cup of coffee. These beans are being prepared for export in Agros’ training center in the Ixil region of Guatemala, and were grown by Agros community members.
These women are in charge of the local community bank. Agros has helped to establish community banks for women in many of its communities, empowering them by making it possible to gain access to credit and start their own businesses. Oftentimes, groups of women come together and combine their resources to fund businesses which grow into successful ventures that benefit both their families and their community as a whole.
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