11-13-14  |  Success Story

This Is Our Story: María Fernanda & María José in La Cruz

BY: Elena Laswick

“Fabretto school lunches offer my daughters a variety and quantity of food that otherwise they would not have.”

-Antonia, Mother

Maria José (left) and Maria Fernanda (right) at the Fabretto school in La Cruz

9-year-old María José and María Fernanda are twin sisters who live in the trash dump community, La Cruz, in Nicaragua.  In their community, most families live in houses made of corrugated metal and plastic or of old wooden boards.  Their homes have dirt floors and no running water or inside toilet.  Families survive by collecting recyclables in the dump, earning just a dollar or two a day – leaving little to pay for a full meal each day, not to mention school supplies.

The twins have been benefiting from Fabretto’s nutritious school lunches since 2010, before there was a school building.  In those days, the lunches were served at desks outside.  The La Cruz school was constructed by Fabretto and buildOn in 2011, and, with support from many service groups and volunteers, Fabretto has outfitted the school with a kitchen, gardens, small swing set, and a well.  Once the school was built, the girls were able to begin their education.

Maria Fernanda outside of her house in La Cruz

School lunch is an essential part of Maria José and Maria Fernanda’s education; the meal helps them focus on learning, rather than their when their next meal will be.  Too often, it is the only meal they eat each day.

Malnourishment causes students to learn at a slower pace, struggle to pay attention, and have trouble remembering what they’ve learned.  In this respect, Antonia, the mother of the twins, says she has seen a change: “They have improved a lot now that they’re eating more.  They can read now, and when they started school in 2011, they couldn’t read.”

           

                         Maria Fernanda                                        Maria José

A typical Fabretto school lunch includes fortified rice and soy, beans, tortillas, juice, and sometimes meat or dairy products, plus fruits and vegetables grown in the garden.   Mothers from the community volunteer to cook lunch for the students.  Through the school kitchen, Antonia has become involved in her daughters’ education.  She volunteers regularly and ensures that the twins attend school each day.

With Fabretto school lunches and primary education close to their home, María José and María Fernanda are moving toward a better future.

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