Meet Nelsy in her own words:
“I am Nelsy Azucena Castillo Hernández, the daughter of a family of coffee growers in the Tutule area. My family has been producers since 1930, and working on the farm during the harvest to collect the cherries is our family custom. My grandparents taught me to work their land, later my parents became la roya (coffee leaf rust) caused big economic problems for the family. The farms were infected and we ended up losing almost all the production. Despite the challenges, we kept hope and decided to renovate the farms. We focused on planting high pacas and catuaí varietals that are more consistent in the cup, despite knowing that they are susceptible to la roya.
I have eight siblings that share the land, and the amount of land I have to work and plant my coffee is one manzana. I do not have much quantity but it is enough to produce beautiful coffee.
I am married and have a 4-year-old son. My primary objective is to leave a healthy heritage for my children. I belong to a group of talented young people in the zone of Márcala, and am also a member of a company of women leaders dedicated to the production of coffee and organic fertilizers. We also seek sustainability by diversifying with different products produced in our area, fruit trees, wild mora (blackberries) and aloe vera.
A decade ago, women in my community did not have much participation in some issues; nowadays we try to do the same activities that men do and we help with the expenses in the house. Thanks to the women’s organizations in coffee we have more knowledge on important issues such as women’s leadership, entrepreneurship and gender self-esteem.