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Dec 5, 2019

Piloting Tools to Promote Literacy

As a data-driven organization, Fabretto seeks to ensure that our programs are actually serving communities and meeting their needs. In many cases, rather than reinventing the wheel, we keep our eyes open to new tools and methodologies in the field and the ways in which we can collaborate with other organizations.

For this reason, Fabretto is piloting the Parent Engagement Needs Assessment — a tool to support literacy practitioners in promoting positive parent and caregiver engagement in children’s learning. The tool, which was inspired by the results of case studies with parents in Kenya and Uganda confirms the importance of parent engagement in improving learning outcomes. The tool will be further refined based on feedback from the pilot tests and released publicly in the coming months.

Recognizing that parental involvement is crucial to a child’s development, the Fabretto education model has always sought to engage parents by encouraging participation through volunteer work in our education centers and through workshops designed specifically for parents. However, until now, Fabretto had not had access to a structured tool and a more systematic approach to collecting information about the parents of the children we serve.

“Fabretto has worked with parents for many years, but we’ve always been asking the questions, ‘Should we be working more closely with parents? Do parents have enough time to participate? Do they understand the importance of engaging with their children to promote literacy? And are we focused enough on understanding their needs?’ Being part of this pilot was a great opportunity for us to really focus on parent engagement and to rethink our strategy,” explains Helene Meinecke, Fabretto’s Grants Manager.

Fabretto implements a community assessment tool and the pilot findings are being used to revise it. “Fabretto is a learning organization and using the tool made us structure our conversations in a way that allowed us to reflect on why we do the things we do. Just because we have done this work for so many years doesn’t mean it’s the only or best way to continue doing things,” explains Helene.

With access to new data and working together with parents, we are more equipped than ever to continue to bring literacy to the children we serve and their communities. Thank you for making our life-changing work possible!


Nov 29, 2019

The Miracle of Reading

At first glance, Elisa seems shy and reserved, but her eyes shine with enthusiasm when she talks about her future. Despite living in one of the most remote communities in northern Nicaragua and having few economic resources, the 11-year-old student already has clear goals: to graduate from high school and become a psychologist to help children in her community, El Cipián.

In Nicaragua, 30% of children do not complete primary school (World Bank 2012); for children like Elisa who live in the most disadvantaged communities, obtaining a university education is an even more limited possibility. But Elisa is about to finish sixth grade and is determined to become the first in her family to go to college.

Every day, after attending public school in her community, Elisa helps her young sister with homework before helping her mother with chores. The upbringing of the two sisters has not been easy. To make ends meet, single mother, Sorangel, has had to migrate for work outside the community during long seasons and is forced to leave her daughters in the care of their grandmother. Elisa looks sad in her eyes when talking about her father’s absence. In fact, after her father left, Elisa had a setback in her studies. “My grades were low … I did not like to participate in class and did not want to go to school,” she recalls. But after joining Fabretto’s reading clubs, her academic performance and self-confidence improved remarkably. Without a doubt, books opened the door to a better future for Elisa.

For the past two years, the young reader has been a part of the reading club “Los 12 Corazones de María” (Mary’s 12 Hearts). Elisa would not miss a single day of reading club. No matter the distance, she is always enthusiastic to lead reading out loud activities with children in other communities. “I love helping younger children to read. That’s my favorite activity!” she confesses with a smile. In addition to promoting reading among younger students, she and her fellow reading club members carry out community service and fundraising initiatives for the sick and homeless.

“My biggest motivation is to make other children feel the same joy I feel through reading,” shares the young community leader.

Reading has brought back Elisa’s smile. With only 11 years of age, she has already become a community leader and an example for other children. Education has empowered Elisa with confidence and resilience to overcome adversity. At such a young age, she is following the footsteps of Father Fabretto, being an example of hope and service to the people in her community.

“If you ever lose your smile, find it in the smile of other children.”

Thank you for supporting children like Elisa!


Aug 27, 2019

Tackling ADHD With Love

The door to Denis’s classroom is completely covered with colorful phrases, drawings, and clippings. Among the phrases written by hand, one stands out: "We learn from mistakes and celebrate the success of others." Carelia, the teacher and creator of the murals, smiles and proudly explains: “Students must be encouraged, especially those who have learning disabilities.” Such has been the case for Denis, a 7-year-old boy from a family with limited resources who was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

In 2018, Yerlin, Denis’s mother, went to the Fabretto Education Center in Esteli, Nicaragua, to seek help for her son. “At school, Denis suffered from abuse. The students were afraid of him, and the teachers constantly scolded him because they did not understand ADHD,” recalls the mother. But thanks to the professional support received at Fabretto, in a short time, Denis began to show significant progress and to smile as he had rarely done before.

At Fabretto, Denis received psychological therapy and his teacher, Carelia, has played a critical role in preparing him to become a part of a regular classroom. The teacher has received training in play-based educational methodologies for primary education students, similar to Montessori. Through playful activities, children have managed to transform from mere recipients of information to protagonists of their own learning. “Less than a year ago, Denis did not know how to read or write. Today, he is an outstanding student and loves to visit the center’s library frequently,” explains the elementary school teacher.

Carelia has taught the rest of the students to serve as support for Denis. Through social reinforcements such as hugs, praises, or any other manifestation of affection, they manifest to him how well he has acted. “Children with hyperactivity have to be treated with patience; here [at Fabretto] we are convinced that the best solution to any problem is love.”

Denis’s mother, sister, and grandmother have also learned the value of affection in the child’s recovery and development. “Before, my daughter and I cried because we did not understand what was happening to Denis. We did not know how to deal with him, and that’s why we scolded him all the time. But Fabretto’s staff has instilled in us the patience and techniques we need to help him with his studies at home,” says his grandmother, Rosa.

Denis has shown not only great progress in his social, emotional, and educational skills but also a significant change in his nutritional state. “Before in his most critical moments, he could not eat, but now, he remains at the table and finishes his entire meal calmly,” says his mother, Yerlin.

Thanks to the joint work between the family and the school, today, Denis can identify the critical moments of hyperactivity on his own and then put into practice self-control techniques. “When Denis is very restless, he performs breathing exercises on his own and asks for permission to leave the classroom to walk for a bit,” explains his teacher, Carelia.

At Fabretto, we are convinced that through quality personalized education, and by working hand in hand with all the members of the community, we can create environments where children like Denis can truly thrive. Thanks to people like you, we can continue to support children like Denis.


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