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Dec 20, 2018

Reyna: Teaching her Mother to Read and Write

 At 14 years of age, Reyna Elizabeth is in 5th grade. She lives in the small community of Nueva Esperanza in Las Sabanas, Nicaragua, where she has the luxury of attending a school that’s less than a 5-minute walk from home.

Reyna’s humble house is built of adobe, with a low tin roof and barely any windows. It’s been raining for days and her mother, Doña Reyna, is worried the small retaining walls surrounding the house will not hold. With a pained look in her face, the mother of 9 recalls her family’s experience with hurricane Mitch in 1998. The family was living in the community of El Encino when the non-stop rains began. Without any warning, the house, with the family in it, flooded with mud waist deep. One of her sons was dragged a few feet, but they were able to rescue him. Having lost their home of many years, the family moved to Nueva Esperanza (New Hope) where they had to start anew.

When Reyna was in first grade, she had so much trouble learning to read and write, that she had to repeat first grade twice. However, despite the circumstances, with the help of Fabretto’s Educational Enrichment Program, Reyna Elizabeth has not let her learning disability bring her down. This year, she has joined a LitClub. With 13 members (all girls), her club is called The Maidens of the Garden. In addition to reading together and reading to younger children in their school, the girls are always looking for ways to help out in their community. This week, they are donating C$10 (about $0.30) each to help buy vitamins for a local girl who has fallen ill. LitClub has taught Reyna so much; from learning to listen to others with respect, to overcoming shyness by practicing oral presentations, she is ready to achieve her short-term goal: finishing primary school, something her mother was never able to accomplish.

Reyna’s community service does not stop there, however. At home, she patiently helps her mother practice her reading and writing. Doña Reyna only made it to 3rd grade and never developed a habit of reading. Now, with Reyna’s help, at age 49, Doña Reyna is starting to read again. The proud mother boasts about her daughter’s accomplishments in reading and writing, but she also celebrates her own. When it comes to numbers, Doña Reyna is a pro; “I even went to the bank the other day! Other people here are too afraid to go, but I don’t mind,” she tells us proudly.

After completing her schooling, Reyna’s wish is to become a doctor. “Why? Because I want to give shots!” she answers, laughing. Through access to quality education, we are confident Reyna’s wish will come true.

Thank you for helping Fabretto turn wishes into miracles. Happy Holidays!

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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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