Thanks to your wonderful support and to the family and friends of Zach Ciperski (1980-2014), La Vida Education, Elite SEM, and The Campbell Foundation, the town of San Juan de Oriente can now enjoy access to a brand new library. The original library, founded by Aaron Pick, had grown to be so popular that it could no longer accommodate the overwhelming amount of children participating in reading clubs and other educational activities. The new space will make it possible for more children and youth to not only have a safe space to read and study but also to play sports, grow a school garden, and host community events.
Following the opening ceremony, the Ciperski family and Elite SEM presented the library staff with new books and sports equipment. The group then spent the following days working on the library's finishing touches and interacting with the children and other community members.
Today, the San Juan de Oriente library serves over 500 children and youth. Adelayda Lopez, director of the library, shared with us the excitement she and children feel now that they can enjoy the new space: "This space was specifically designed for children; even the bookshelves and sinks are child-sized! The children are more excited than ever to be a part of our programs. As director, I am confident that we will continue to grow and to benefit more children from the surrounding schools."
Thank you so much for making this new library a reality! We are counting on your support to continue to provide access to quality education programs to children and youth in Nicaragua.
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The small town of San Juan de Oriente is known as the heart of Nicaraguan arts and crafts. Located just 40 kilometers outside of the capital of Managua, you will find this town neighboring Masatepe and Catarina. This beautiful area is also known as “Los Pueblos Blancos” (White Villages). Walking through San Juan de Oriente is like walking through the local market; where simple white adobe houses turned store front, exhibit an endless array of colorful paintings, pottery with a cultural relevance, and delicate wood workings. Alongside these houses, you cannot help but take in the gardens and flower beds that decorate main street.
Fabretto sponsors the local library, which to children of this community is the heart of their imagination thanks to dedicated teachers and librarians. This library has become a sanctuary for children where they can let their imagination soar. For these chldren, reading has become their favorite game.
This library is on a small corner lot, which reduced space and vast limitation is no comparison to the children’s enthusiasm. This library not only lends books, but is also known for its theatrical shows, storytelling, and arts and crafts courses that emphasize on teamwork, respect and a passion for books and nature.
Last week, we had the opportunity to visit this library during a school activity celebrating the end of the school year. Although school is no longer in session, we had the opportunity to talk to a few of the children who visit the library on a regular basis, and learn firsthand how this library has played a positive role in their lives.
Francisco, 14 years old.
Francisco, the eldest of the group, has been visiting the library almost every day for the past 5 years. He explains how at school they told him about this place that lends books. “I live near by and not only do I like to come and read, I also like the values and lessons I have been taught. I also have improved my vocabulary.” Visiting with Francisco is his younger sister Maria Teresa. “My sister did not know how to read at first. She would make up and interpret books based on the images.” She is now 8 years old and a bright student. She is well known for her ability to read in public and has even won second place in a reading contest.
Tatiana, 7 years old
During the activity, the teacher called on Tatiana who was being recognized for being the most organized of the group. “Tatiana always leaves the library clean, all books in place, and comes everyday,” explained the teacher. Tatiana tells us that she too likes to visit the library to play games and participate in arts and crafts.
Children that begin reading and interacting with books at a young age perform better at school. Reading helps children develop well in all aspects of their lives; it is a powerful tool that exercises their intellect and critical thinking skills. Books are a source of knowledge and answers for many of these kids whose parents have minimal education. Fabretto strongly believes that good reading habits are a foundation that can catapult any child to success. It is for this reason that in the upcoming year, Fabretto's goal is to sponsor the construction of a new library in San Juan de Oriente.
Fabretto’s Primary Enrichment Program is a clear example of the positive effects reading has on young learners. Because of the special emphasis Fabretto has given to reading and programs associated with reading such as “Reading is fun” (Leer es divertido), Fabretto has been recognized at the national level. A Fabretto sponsored school, located in the rural community of San Pedro de Buena Vista, 69 kms Southeast of Nueva Guinea on the Caribbean Coast (RACCS), was awarded special recognition for their attention to literature.
Historically, students from rural and poor communities in Nicaragua have the lowest national performance in reading and writing. However, a small school in the Southern Caribbean Coast Region (RACCS) has become the big exception. Pascual Solano works at the Maria Teresa Sanchez School, located in the San Pedro de Buena Vista community, 43 miles (70km) southeast from Nueva Guinea in RACCS. Pascual is a 31-year-old teacher who led his students to win second place at Nicaragua’s National Reading Competition.
The students come from rural schools and families with few economic resources. They have to travel long distances to go to school with poor infrastructure. Many of the children did not attend early childhood education, as the access to preschool in RACCS is non-existent.
For first grade students, the school’s social disadvantage has not been a debilitating obstacle to learn. This achievement is due in largely to teachers, including Pascual who are committed and passionate about their work. Pascual has attended Fabretto training workshops, where he has learned about the importance of engaging parents in their children's education. He also promotes student attendance and punctuality. Thanks to funding from USAID, Fabretto, along with the Vicariate of Bluefields and the Ministry of Education, have hosted teacher training workshops throughout the region.
Pascual interact and maintains good communication with his students, celebrating every small achievement. His personalized interaction in classroom transcends to the family, who appreciate and value Pascual’s hard work. Pascual’s classroom won second place in the subsidized classroom category at the National Reading Competition, where 302 primary schools participated nation-wide in three categories: regular, multi-grade level, and subsidized for first, second, or third place. In order to participate in the competition, Pascual had to demonstrate student retention rate increase, over 90% attendance rate, and having lead at least 22 hours of class per week. Pascual’s students excelled in the international Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA), testing reading comprehension and fluency.
“Motivation plays a very important role. That's why I encourage the willingness to learn, the value of reading, and the importance of education. I motivate students individually, as well as their parents.” comments Pascual.
Nicaragua needs more teachers like Pascual. Fabretto teacher training helps teachers to become the best they can be and improves education quality for thousands of children in underserved communities in Nicaragua. Thank you for supporting education and teacher training in Nicaragua.