A Women’s Garden Grows in Guatemala

June 17, 2019 Jennifer Retter

Women's garden

Dedicated to reducing food insecurity and increasing nutrition quality in Guatemala, Master of Public Health candidate Tayyaba Javed Bhatti ’20MPH helped establish a community garden—supported by the Marie-Louise and Eugene Jackson International Fund for Student and Faculty Development—at Masroor Academy in Alotenango. 

El Jardin de las Mujeres (“The Women’s Garden”) was launched in collaboration with Humanity First Guatemala, an organization that supports in-country health and human development projects. The garden provides fresh, organic produce and educational resources, reflecting Bhatti’s commitment to social responsibility, community engagement, and improving health outcomes in Guatemala. 

“My international internship helped me gain leadership experience in the public health field and successfully initiate a project that serves a vulnerable population,” said Bhatti, who met with municipality workers, Masroor faculty, and local families to address the most pressing threats to their health. With the help of local staff, she created a gardening book for students to learn more about agriculture, nutrition, and cooking. 

Since its inception, El Jardin de las Mujeres has also helped reduce stress, risk of chronic diseases, and the community’s environmental footprint. Within the next year, Bhatti hopes the project will expand to include health and sustainability camps. 

The Jackson Fund, established by Marie-Louise Vermeiren Jackson ’09H and her family’s Fourjay Foundation, helps students and faculty in STEM and health science fields participate in international experiences and enact change abroad.

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