5-18-17  |  Shared Stories Sponsorship

The Fabretto Story of Walter and Els van Woudenberg

BY: Fabretto

Walter and Els with their student group on the beach in Gigante, Nicaragua, in November of 2016.


This is a story shared by Els and Walter van Woudenberg, both of whom operate the Ezulwini Foundation Inc. They currently live in the mountains of Colorado with their dogs and four horses.

When we built our Nicaragua dream home in Redonda Bay, Tola, some ten years ago, we quickly became aware of the poverty and poor living conditions that our Nica neighbors in the village of Gigante were subjected to.

As our philanthropic interests are focused on education, we participated in a project that bused kids from our village to the nearest high school, so they could complete an education.  This was in 2008.  Since then, several dozen Gigante kids have graduated with a high school diploma.  When the first crop of kids graduated, we asked the question: now what?  A high school diploma alone does not really ensure a career.

So we partnered with Fabretto to launch a new program.  The program places these graduates into post-secondary schooling to learn an occupation, trade, or skill that will allow them to get meaningful jobs.

We offered to fund any Gigante graduate wishing to take us up on this opportunity, thinking there may be a handful.  We were wrong.  There were 16 or 17 of them, and, this was exciting, mostly girls!  Last year, 4 years after the program launch, we celebrated our first graduate with a degree in law!  This year, we added three more and we expect to add several more each year going forward.

We hope that Fabretto will continue to propel students into the job market. We encourage everyone to support this program in other areas of Nicaragua, where Fabretto kids are educated. In an era where successful and effective philanthropy is so difficult to attain, we believe that Fabretto and its programs are a shining example of how focus and sound execution of a well thought out plan can be very effective.

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