6-21-15  |  Success Story

Father & Son Become Entrepreneurs in Rural Nicaragua

BY: Anina Hewey

This Father’s Day, meet Leonel and Rickson, a father-son team from rural Nicaragua – and now owners of a successful business. Leonel and his wife are parents of four, and two of their children, Rickson and Ingrid, are enrolled in Fabretto’s Rural Secondary Education (SAT) Program. One of the key philosophies behind SAT is making education relevant for rural youth, an extremely important task in a country where over half of youth do not enroll in secondary education. To fit secondary education to the rural context, the SAT program goes beyond textbooks and the limits of the classroom, and students are encouraged to put skills into practice and “learn by earning.”

Rickson, in his home, gives a fellow SAT student a haircut

About a year ago, Leonel (pictured, right) and his son Rickson noticed that community members were forced to travel several hours on foot just to get a haircut in the nearest town center, San José de Cusmapa. Their business idea was born: a barber shop.

But in rural communities in Nicaragua, it’s extremely difficult for potential entrepreneurs to access start-up capital. The nearest bank, often located several hours away by bus, will not grant loans to customers with no credit history. To overcome this barrier and empower rural youth, Fabretto’s SAT program established a student cooperative, which grants small loans to students and their families. For Rickson and his father, the cooperative enabled them to obtain a loan of approximately $150 to invest in an electric razor and other supplies for their shop.

After purchasing the supplies, the family opened the business in their home. Customers sit in a plastic chair in their living room, and Rickson or his dad cut their hair using an electric razor. “The business is a big accomplishment for him,” said Leonel with pride. “He’s learning and he’s having fun.” In addition to cutting hair, some of the skills that Rickson has learned include writing a business plan, handling cash, keeping accounting records, and managing the loan from the cooperative. The barber shop has also filled a need in the community, and customers come from several nearby villages as well.

Rickson’s mom, sister Ingrid (also in SAT), and baby sister pose outside their home. The entire family has benefitted from the business and increased family income.

“The SAT Program has brought many benefits to our community,” commented Leonel, who expressed his enthusiasm for the possibilities for the family’s future. Together, Rickson and Leonel have set an example for their community and demonstrated the impact of education and opportunity in rural Nicaragua.

Parents are an important part of any effective education program, and Fabretto actively involves moms and dads in educational activities, service projects, and income-generating initiatives. By working with whole families—children, siblings, parents, grandparents—Fabretto empowers communities to pull themselves out of poverty.

Rickson (bottom right, in blue) poses with his SAT classmates, teachers, and parents from his community

Celebrate Father’s Day by contributing to Fabretto’s community development efforts. There are many ways to support families including: purchase coffee & handmade crafts from the Fabretto Shop, make a donation, or take action for Fabretto in your community.

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