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Get to know a Fabretto Education Center: Ocotal

BY: Elena Aldecoa

Located in the mountainous region of Nueva Segovia, in northern Nicaragua, Ocotal is one Fabretto’s newest education centers. This center offers access to trained teachers, educational enrichment, food security and nutrition, parent workshops, and different initiatives to improve community wellbeing and development.


The Ocotal center was originally founded by local philanthropist Isabel Vilchez de Albir in 1993 as the “Comedor Maria Auxiliadora,” serving meals to 60 children as a response to the high levels of poverty in the region. Realizing that feeding the children was not enough, the organization evolved into an education center.

Also known as the “Maria Albir Center,” Ocotal has been managed by Fabretto since 2012 and now serves over 1,500 students through education and nutrition programs, both in the center and in the surrounding public schools.

Program Highlight

Ocotal’s Food Security and Nutrition Program promotes school and home gardens as a way to complement school meals, involving not only students and teachers, but also parents and other family members. The program offers technical advice, monitoring, and a space for sharing knowledge about agricultural best practices.

Additionally, in collaboration with Peralta Coffee, the Ocotal center recently built 4 new kitchens in the communities of Los Arados, Las Cruces, San Antonio, and El Zapote, providing school meals for approximately 400 children.

Ocotal by the Numbers

75% of children in Nicaragua do not finish primary school.
121 children currently participate in Fabretto’s preschool programs.
1,362 children enrolled in primary educational enrichment, part of Fabretto’s Early and Primary Education Program.

Fabretto provides teacher training in the Montessori methodology, which greatly impacts the way students feel in the classroom. By providing interactive, student-centered lessons, children are more motivated to come to school every day. Read more about Seria Delia, one of Ocotal’s inspiring teachers.

Current Initiatives

Ocotal is currently supporting 434 children under the age of 5 through “Chispuditos,” a program sponsored by the Mathile Institute to address problems with malnutrition. The children in this program are offered a soy-based drink fortified with nutrients that has been scientifically proven to help children in this age range who suffer from chronic malnutrition, in turn alleviating problems such as stunted growth and repeated infectious diseases in children.

Support Fabretto’s efforts to provide quality education to children and youth in Nicaragua.

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