Primary Education for 11,000+ Nicaraguan Youth

by Fabretto Children's Foundation
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Darling with her students.
Darling with her students.

In a country where only 28% of rural children who begin school reach the 6th grade (UNICEF), Fabretto’s Early & Primary Education Program boast a 92% retention rate. This program supports strong academic, social, and personal development, serving as a resource for the whole community during and after school. 

Through teacher training in leading Montessori and Open Learning methodologies, Fabretto is able to reach thousands of children, both directly and indirectly. When a teacher is trained by Fabretto, he or she is prepared to replicate knowledge with other teachers in their communities. This is the case of Darling, a skilled teacher who has trained other teachers in rural communities of Nicaragua. 

Darling was first drawn to the Fabretto Mama Margarita Center in Somoto as a 10th grader looking for an opportunity to be in the student choir. After graduation, Darling became the proud recipient of a university scholarship through Fabretto. 

Having started by volunteering at the Fabretto Center during her free time, she quickly excelled in the organization. As a scholarship student majoring in Education, she participated in Fabretto teacher-training workshops. In 2009, before her college career was complete, she was offered a teaching position.

Three years later, now a college graduate, Darling is responsible for overseeing educational programs and leading teacher training in 11 rural communities in Somoto. Trained in Montessori and Open Learning methodologies, she is passionate about improving student performance and retention through hands-on learning, also known as ‘Learning Through Play.’ 

In 2015, Fabretto received more than 3.5 million Lego pieces in 2015 thanks to the generosity of The Lego Foundation. Darling is one of the many teachers implementing play-based learning through the use of Legos in the classroom, and the children are loving it. The teachers she trains all agree: “This works because I have tried it and I have seen the results.” 

Montessori and Open Learning methodologies and materials are spreading throughout Somoto classrooms. It is evident that Darling and other Fabretto trainers have inspired more teachers than anyone could have imagined.

Today, Darling is implementing these programs at the regional level. We are confident she will reach even more at-risk children through the ripple effect of teacher training.

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Inauguration Ceremony
Inauguration Ceremony

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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Before
Before
After
After
Volunteers and children during reading activity
Volunteers and children during reading activity
Thank you!
Thank you!

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Beautiful gardens in San Juan de Oriente
Beautiful gardens in San Juan de Oriente

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.

San Juan de Oriente main street
San Juan de Oriente main street
Reading activity with children at the Library
Reading activity with children at the Library
Group reading activity
Group reading activity
Current library
Current library
Francisco, accepting reading award
Francisco, accepting reading award
Maria Teresa accepting reading award
Maria Teresa accepting reading award
Tatiana is the most organized of the group
Tatiana is the most organized of the group

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Students from Mobile Primary School
Students from Mobile Primary School

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. 

Mobile Community School
Mobile Community School
Pascual in the classroom
Pascual in the classroom
Pascual, his students, Kevin, and Fabretto Staff
Pascual, his students, Kevin, and Fabretto Staff

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Donkey Library
Donkey Library

One of Fabretto’s strategies for bringing books to rural communities is mobile libraries, carried on donkey’s backs. This spring, the donkey-powered libraries (“biblioburros” in Spanish) have reached the South Caribbean Coast (RACCS), Fabretto’s newest region of influence. Read more about the first mobile libraries in the Northern mountains of Nicaragua.

In Nicaragua, books are a luxury. At school, children only have access to books with the standard curriculum; in many rural schools, two or three children must share one textbook. Families can’t afford to purchase books for their children, and there are just a handful of public lending libraries in the entire country. This means that many children have no access to books, particularly in rural communities.

The schools that Fabretto supports in the RACCS region are some of the most isolated in the country. These villages are located hours away from the nearest towns and are inaccessible by vehicle. However, there is one form of transportation that can reach the schools – donkeys.

With donated books and trusty donkeys to carry them, Fabretto is providing a path for educational resources to reach even the most remote communities.

Last month, Fabretto introduced the donkey-powered libraries to the RACCS region through a series of educational fairs. 200 students, parents, and teachers from ten different schools participated in the events, during which the biblioburro traveled to the schools and gave children access to the mobile library.

The students were given the opportunity to browse through the books, read the stories out loud with their friends, and participate in activities organized by Fabretto’s team. It was a joyful, exciting time for the children, most of whom had never seen a library before. Through initiatives like the biblioburro, Fabretto strives to not only improve students’ reading skills, but also awaken their interest in reading and learning.

Children at the Donkey Library
Children at the Donkey Library
Child at the Donkey Library
Child at the Donkey Library

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Organization Information

Fabretto Children's Foundation

Location: Alexandria, Virginia - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.fabretto.org
Project Leader:
Kathy Baczko
Arlington, VA United States
$4,990 raised of $20,000 goal
 
 
59 donations
$15,010 to go
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