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Oct 23, 2018

Something as Simple as Teaching Children to Hold a Pencil

A rocky and perilous dirt road brings us to the small community of Apanaje, located an hour away from Fabretto’s Education Center in Las Sabanas, in the mountains of Northern Nicaragua. Although we get there early in the morning, the intense tropical sun already reflects strongly off of the almost white patch of dirt where we park the truck. As we look down on the Apanaje School a few yards downhill, we are amazed by the vast and striking view of the mountains and the valley below. We are here to meet Yolanda, the local preschool teacher, and her students.

As we make our way down a steep and slippery dirt path, we are surrounded by livestock and a few simple homes. Children start running outside, curious to meet the visitors with the large camera and strange-looking equipment. When we arrive at the school, we are welcomed by a small, bright-eyed young woman with a beaming smile. This is Yolanda, the 27-year old teacher who had been teaching preschool in the homes of community members but has now “upgraded” to the Apanaje School’s hallway.

Due to a lack of space and resources, the Ministry of Education (MINED) has not yet opened a formal preschool teaching position in Apanaje. Instead, community educators like Yolanda are asked to step up to the plate as volunteers, earning a stipend equivalent to only a fraction of the minimum wage for regular MINED teachers. The small school of Apanaje consists of two multigrade classrooms for grades 1-6, leaving no room for the preschool class. However, this has not stopped Yolanda and her little ones. Come rain or shine, the preschoolers and their brave teacher can be found in the school hallway or yard.

Yolanda had always wanted to be a teacher, so as soon as she finished high school, she enrolled in a university in Estelí, graduating with a teaching degree in 2010. She has now been teaching for seven years, the past two in Apanaje. For the past 4 years, she has participated in Fabretto’s teacher training workshops. When asked which workshop she has enjoyed the most, she exclaims: “All of them!”

Fabretto’s teacher training workshops focus on methodologies, such as Montessori and Open Learning, in which children are encouraged to be the protagonists of their own learning and teachers are present in more of a supportive role. These methodologies are particularly important in early education, where young students are allowed to learn from experiencing the world around them first hand. Because some of the classroom tools traditionally used in Montessori can be expensive, teachers are taught how to make them themselves, using easily-accessible recycled materials.

Yolanda tells us that these methodologies have greatly impacted the way she teaches. For example, a traditional teacher might teach about human anatomy by simply pointing to body parts on a poster. In her classroom, in order to make the lesson more dynamic, Yolanda manufactured a jigsaw puzzle of the human body, which the children then assembled while calling out each body part. These activities help develop children’s cognitive and psychomotor skills, while also encouraging independence.

Teaching has undoubtedly been a rewarding experience for Yolanda. When asked why she chose early education, she states: “I am able to teach so much to these little ones, but they also end up teaching me. The way they go through life with so much optimism motivates me to continue being a teacher.” In addition to the daily joys of being in the classroom, Yolanda relishes in witnessing how some of the students she taught in preschool many years ago, have successfully made it to secondary school. “I feel so proud to see the fruits of my labor. When I see my students advancing through school, I can proudly say that I had something to do with their success. Starting with something as simple as teaching children to hold a pencil, I know that I am helping them start their education off on the right foot.” Yolanda is confident that in a few years, she will see one of her students graduate from university.

Yolanda is a clear example of how, even in a place as remote and lacking in resources as Apanaje, a well-cultivated teacher can truly help a community grow.

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Jul 26, 2018

Education: The Seed for a Better Future

At Fabretto, we believe education is the seed for a better future. In 2017, Fabretto provided quality education programs to embrace the three main stages of life in human development – infancy, childhood, youth – cultivating a better future for entire underserved communities. We are committed to contributing to the education of at-risk students throughout their early years, primary school and beyond. Seeing them grow into active learners is the greatest satisfaction we can have. Please join us as we celebrate great accomplishments harvested in 2017.

Infancy
295 parents participated in early stimulation workshops
2,669 children ages 3-6 benefited from quality preschool education
111 preschool teachers trained in educational methodologies such as Montessori

Childhood
1,310 parents trained on ways to support children’s education from home
843 primary teachers trained in play-based educational methodologies like Open Learning
2249 children benefited from Fabretto’s afterschool enrichment program

Youth
599 youth enrolled in technical vocational education
1,254 students enrolled in two-year intensive English Access Microscholarship Program
220 rural youth enrolled in technical agricultural education (SAT and SATec)

We are most grateful for your continued support. Educating a child is educating the future!


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May 2, 2018

The Book that Brought Back Danwascar's Smile

At age 8, Danwascar could not read or write. After his father left, Danwascar suffered debilitating depression, causing a huge setback in his education. But with the opening of the new (and only) library in San Juan de Oriente, and inspired by one book in particular, his life would change completely.

In 2015, Fabretto opened an eighth Education Center in San Juan de Oriente, a town of indigenous descent, known for making pre-Columbian-style ceramic pieces. The new Center also serves as a public library and is called “Zach Ciperski”. Here, students with limited resources have access to a wide variety of books that would otherwise not have been within their reach. In this library, five specialized educators use innovative educational methodologies that develop life skills and foster a love of reading in children at risk. “Word spread about what was happening in the library and it was my son’s own teacher who suggested I enroll him immediately,” confesses Maria Ligia, mother of Danwascar.

A few weeks after enrolling her son in the Zach Ciperski Library, Maria Ligia began to notice a change in her son: Danwascar was finally beginning to read and write, but his emotional health did not improve at the same pace. “When I was left bringing up my 4 children alone, I had to migrate to the capital [Managua] to work as a housekeeper and they were left under the care of their grandmother. But at the library, they told me that my child needed to spend more time with me,” recalls Maria Ligia. Danwascar’s mother did not ignore Fabretto’s recommendations; without having a defined plan, she quit her job in Managua with the certainty that she was making the right decision.

Adelayda López, Director of the Zach Ciperski Library


“At Fabretto we recognize the invaluable role of parents in the education and well-being of children. Without their involvement and participation, our work would not have the same impact,” said Adelayda López, Director of the Zach Ciperski Educational Center and Library. Today, thanks to the five exceptional Fabretto educators and the unconditional support of his mother, Danwascar is in 3rd grade and stands out as the best student in his class. In fact, according to his mother, Danwascar has been named “monitor student”, a strategy implemented by the Ministry of Education (MINED) of Nicaragua, which consists of identifying outstanding students, who can help facilitate the class in order to share knowledge with the rest of the group, which in turn motivates monitor students to attain their full potential.

Recently, Danwascar was selected to be sponsored through Fabretto's Child Sponsorship Program. Sponsorship allows this great student to benefit from school supplies, shoes and a potential college scholarship in the future. Fabretto’s sponsorship program is also an aid for mothers like Maria Ligia, who makes a living off of selling fruit and vegetables on the street; the only stable income for this single mother is U$65 per month, which she receives from volunteering as an empirical teacher in a public, MINED school. “I am very grateful to Fabretto for everything they have done for my son (…) I especially thank the teachers at the library, because everything they do comes from the heart.”

Danwascar with his mother Maria Ligia.


Danwascar has learned to love reading, which motivates him to walk 3 miles from the school to the Library every day. It is in this magical place, where his bright little eyes get lost among the pages of: “The Most Beautiful Fables” – the first children’s book that Danwascar read from beginning to end and which continues to blow his imagination. Today, Danwascar smiles alongside his mother and his dream of becoming a great teacher has become a goal, which we are sure he will achieve one day.

Teachers of the Zach Ciperski Library

 

Thank you for giving children like Danwascar smiles of pride. Your support grants them the gift that keeps on giving: education.

 
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