Brenda walked home from school while reading “Pinocchio.” Without taking her eyes off the book, she arrived home, a small house made of adobe bricks with colorful flowers contrasting against the arid landscape of her community.
Located on the slope of the northern mountains of Nicaragua, La Jabonera is one of the most isolated communities in the country. It lacks electricity and safe drinking water, and the nearest medical center is over 20 miles away. In this distant community, education seems to have suffered a long delay in arriving. Just four years ago, secondary education was offered in town for the first time through Fabretto’s SAT Program. A single primary school serves all local children like Brenda, a 6th-grade student who is also enrolled in her school’s “LitClub”, a reading club promoted by Fabretto.
“I try to read every day! It’s the only way to improve your reading skills, learn new things, and make sure others don’t fool you,” comments the eloquent student. Brenda has made reading part of her daily routine. Every day she wakes up at 4:30 AM, grinds corn for her mother’s hand-made tortillas, and helps sweep the dirt floor of the house. After breakfast, she goes down the hill to bathe in the river, which has been running low, as drought has struck. When she arrives at school at 7:30 AM, the first thing she does is choose the book of the day – available thanks to a donation Fabretto made to her school – today, Brenda has chosen Pinocchio. Throughout the rest of the week, she’ll be looking forward to LitClub, an activity that has enriched her vocabulary and self-esteem.
At eleven years of age, Brenda already has a clear goal: to be the first in her family to go to college and become a teacher. That is the path narrated in the first story she authored, The Brave Jose, which was selected to be included in a children’s story book published in Nicaragua and Spain thanks to supporters like you. “Here is my name! All of the authors in this book are children like me,” shares the proud writer.
Thanks to partnerships with organization and individual donors like you, Fabretto is taking literacy to remote Nicaraguan communities through reading clubs for children, called LitClubs. In 2016, over 13,000 books were distributed to the most isolated communities of rural Nicaragua. We know that when children read books, they improve their vocabulary and spelling, learn to recognize rules of sentence structure, use their imagination, gain the ability to concentrate, and even learn about values. Through Fabretto’s LitClubs, books will be the doors which open up a better future for Nicaraguan children.
“Miss Rita is downstairs, cleaning the storage room,” the other teachers told me. I am at San Pedro Apostle School, one of four schools under the supervision of Director Rita Reyes located in the municipality of Ticuantepe, Managua.
Indeed, between old furniture, broken slates and dust, was Miss Rita with her hair braided under a hat. “You should not come in it’s very dirty. I`ll be out, ¨ she shouts from the inside. At that moment a man says between his teeth, “that’s the difference between being a teacher by vocation and those who just come because they have to. She knows how to roll up her sleeves.”
Beyond the improvements made in the dining hall, kitchen and storage room made with the support of donors like you, for teacher Rita, the most significant changes have been in children’s habits and behavior. “We have strengthened our strategies and experiences with the students in the topic of Food Security and Nutrition. Thanks to the school garden initiative, choices in snacks and hygiene have improved, such as washing hands and swapping 75% of junk food with fruits and vegetables. In the beginning, we struggled with parents who preferred to give children soda beverages. That has also been a important change in the children’s eating habits. “
In the near future, all of these learning processes will be strengthened to positively influence behavioral changes within students, faculty, and parents through campaigns and trainings on the topic of food security and nutrition. Improved food security and nutrition practices have led to higher school retention rates.
“During the municipal evaluations, we were able to present our work, how it has been done, how the project has supported us, and how school gardens have become family gardens. This year, the ministry of education made a presentation of how school gardens work – using as an example a school garden just like ours,” clarifies the teacher.
Schools like San Pedro Apóstol are now references when it comes to the subject of food securityand nutrition in schools. This has been possible possible thanks to the generosity of our donors. However, a lot remains to be done. For now, they will continue on with the cleaning of the school to optimize the space where children learn and play.
At Fabretto, we believe literacy is the foundation of all future learning and development. Looking back, 2016 was a year of educational accomplishments that will allow our children, their families and entire communities to reach a better future.
Thanks to you, over 20,000 children and youth from 0-19 years of age living in poverty, benefitted from quality education and nutritious meals. By working hand-in-hand with parents and teachers, we were able to reduce the percentage of 1st to 3rd grade at-risk readers, from 54% to 19%. Students like 11-year old Brenda from the rural community of La Jabonera had her first story included in a children’s storybook published in Nicaragua and Spain. Your impact has made it possible for education to transcend the classroom, changing the lives of mothers like Katis, who – once an illiterate adult – was able to achieve personal development thanks to the power of reading.
Without a doubt, 2016 was a milestone year filled with immeasurable successes for entire communities that would not have been possible without you. This report not only celebrates those achievements, but recognizes your generous support and commitment to underserved children and youth.
Thank you for helping us to improve literacy in some of Nicaragua’s most underserved communities.
Primary education is a fundamental human right, contributing to the mitigation of child labor, as well as allowing individuals to play an active role in society. The goal of Fabretto’s Primary Education Program is to help primary students from underserved communities develop their full potential through personalized, age-appropriate teaching methodologies. It aims to contribute to the reduction of educational gaps by promoting the development of life skills such as literacy, logical-mathematical reasoning, as well as critical and creative thinking. Through play-based methodologies, Fabretto teachers stimulate the learning process for successfully achieving the next stage of education.
Some of the program activities include:
According to Reyna, the mother of one of the students beneficiaries of Fabretto’s Primary Education Program in Esteli, receiving the best education in class is not enough; a complementary factor is parent involvement. Something she has been able to do very well with her youngest daughter, Nairobi.
Nairobi and Reyna at the Esteli Education Center library.
When Nairobi entered first grade she could not only read fluently, but also did better than most children her age. The national reading competition promoted by the Ministry of Education was approaching, and Nairobi was selected to represent her school. “They asked me to read a story in front of a lot of people,” she recalls. The judges valued intonation and fluency, and after careful consideration, the results were announced: Nairobi was the best reader in her age category across the entire city of Estelí.
“When I heard that my daughter had won first place in reading at the municipal level, I felt very proud and even began to cry,” confesses the committed mother, who taught Nairobi how to read at only 4 years of age. Reyna remembers when her husband gave Nairobi her first book: Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a book many would consider too complex for her age. “My husband and I did not do all that for our daughter to win a contest… we did it to stay close to her,” says Reyna.
Reyna took advantage of her daughter’s desire to learn, dedicating at least one hour a day to teach Nairobi how to read. Reyna’s effort not only awakened Nairobi’s interest in reading, but also developed a strong mother-daughter bond.
Nairobi currently attends first grade of primary school and is a prominent student. She visits the Fabretto Education Center’s library often and chooses a new book to read every day. Reading has sparked Nairobi’s interest in wanting to learn new things and continues to be an activity that she enjoys sharing with her mother and family.
At Fabretto, we recognize the important role mothers play in the education and development of their children. Therefore, we implement workshops and promote parental involvement in school activities. In 2016, over 1990 parents –76% mothers– received training in educational techniques to help improve literacy skills. Our goal is to empower mothers and fathers from the most vulnerable areas of Nicaragua, providing them with the necessary tools to allow them to become the best version of themselves and improve their children’s futures.
Thanks to your support, we have been able to continue empowering children like Nairobi and their families through education. Gracias!
Carita Felíz Educational Center in Granada joins Fabretto Children’s Foundation to continue offering education to children and youth with limited resources.
Fabretto will continue the work that Carita Feliz has been doing in the area during the past 15 years (2001-2016), benefiting children and youth throughtout the years under the generous leadership of Danish philanthropist Peder Kolind, who passed away suddenly in June 2015. The center will retain its original name, Carita Feliz, but Fabretto will assume operations and the implementation of quality internationally-recognized educational programs in Granada.
“The idea behind this union is to be able to continue the dream that ‘Don’ Peder started,” said Meylin Busto, Director of the Carita Felíz Center.
Under Fabretto’s leadership, this year the center is expected to benefit around 600 children and youth, from 3 to 25 years of age, through the educational reinforcement program, allowing students to reinforce the knowledge acquired in their public schools and to receive technical courses endorsed by INATEC (National Technological Institute of Nicaragua). In addition, school lunches and parent training will be offered in order to promote participation in school activities alongside their children.
Odra is a single mother of 7 children. For her, the support her children have received at the center has changed her life. She is very grateful to the Kolind family and is happy that she can continue to count on that support through Fabretto. “Thanks to the education that the children receive here, we are moving forward; not only the children, but the whole community.” The Center has not only helped Odra with her children's education, but as a mother, she has also benefited from workshops, technical courses, and more.
Odra, with three of her children during the inauguration of the new Fabretto Education Center
Fabretto’s Educational Enrichment Program has contributed towards our students’ academic achievement in rural communities in Nicaragua. In 2015, the school retention rate of Fabretto’s beneficiary students was 92%. Fabretto hopes that the Carita Felíz Center in Granada will bring positive results for the community. Fabretto’s educational programs focus on community-level transformation, ensuring that parents, teachers, and decision-makers are also trained to contribute to the development of at-risk children and youth.
“We have already started receiving training in innovative educational methodologies, such as Montessori, to improve our technique and benefit the community,” said Sara Tercero, Preschool Coordinator at the Carita Felíz Center.
Each year, Fabretto benefits thousands of students nationwide, running education programs in 9 Education Centers and more than 250 MINED public schools.
“We want to complement the valuable work of MINED (Ministry of Education), joining forces with great friends and collaborators. Following the legacy of service of our founder, Padre Rafael María Fabretto, and of Mr. Peder Kolind, we hope to contribute our grain of sand, bringing hope to thousands of children and youth of Nicaragua,” said Kevin Marinacci, CEO of Fabretto Children’s Foundation.
Andreas Kolind (left) and Kevin Marinacci during the inaugural ceremony.
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