12-3-17  |  Success Story

Ariel: Transforming a disability into hope

BY: Elena Aldecoa

Photo courtesy of Sawyer Montgomery.

We visit a semi-rural, impoverished community located on the outskirts of the city of Ocotal in the northern part of Nicaragua. A dirt and rocky road takes you to Ariel’s humble home – a house built of adobe and fenced in with barbed wire, reflecting the limitations he and his family live in. In his community, families survive on less than $ 1 a day. We reach Ariel’s house at 3 pm and he was not home yet. A neighbor said he was playing with some friends close to a nearby river and kindly offered to go for him. 

“Run, run!” Ariel’s voice is heard in the distance. He is the first to arrive to the house, with a bright smile, drenched in sweat, and on two crutches. Despite having only one leg, Ariel is the fastest of his friends. He drank a glass of water offered by his sister and sat down to rest.

Photo courtesy of Sawyer Montgomery.


At the young age of 7, while playing, Ariel suffered a sharp fall. In the hospital they found a malignant tumor at an advanced stage and had no choice but to amputate his leg. For Ariel and his family, it was only the beginning of a nightmare, because two years later, at a routine check-up, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. However, his physical, economic, and health limitations, have not chipped away at Ariel’s will to learn, play and live. “When I grow up I want to work on something related to technology,” he says with confidence. At 14, he dreams of a better future and hopes to achieve it with the same enthusiasm and strength with which he lives his everyday.

Thanks to a tricycle given to him by his brother, Ariel is able to reach his school located outside the community. This young dreamer is well known among his peers for his good nature, his joy, and even for being one of the best soccer players in his neighborhood. “I play with my crutches and stand out for my ability to play defense,” he says proudly.

Fabretto identified Ariel’s case during a visit to his school, where teachers receive training from Fabretto in innovative educational methodologies. Since then, every month, Ariel receives a food package that helps with his nutritional needs. Every month, Fabretto staff in Ocotal come together to collect money to help Ariel with the costs of his treatment. Additionally, Fabretto provides transportation for his medical appointments and is in close communication with Ariel’s parents to provide further support. This coming year, Ariel is enthusiastic to begin the computer classes he has been wanting to attend so much at the Fabretto Educational Center in Ocotal.

Photo courtesy of Sawyer Montgomery.


Ariel’s determination teaches us that nothing is impossible if one truly desires it. He dreams of living a full life, despite his difficulties and limitations, and will not stop smiling. Today, on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Fabretto reiterates its commitment to continue offering all children and youth an opportunity through inclusive education in the most disadvantaged areas of Nicaragua.

This Holiday Season, find a reason to give hope in the face of inspiring students like Ariel. 


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