8-8-18  |  Success Story

Dreaming Big: Maria’s Story

BY: Elena Aldecoa

After an hour’s journey through an almost impassable rocky road, plus another 30 minutes on foot, we reach the humble house where Maria lives with her mother and her six siblings.

Due to severe pneumonia during early childhood and sustained poor nutrition due to poverty, María has suffered a serious delay in her physical and educational development. At 14 years old, she is currently in 5th grade. Despite being of short stature and delicate countenance, without hesitation, Maria skips between the big rocks that lead to a river, where she likes to read and dream.

Her mother, Esperanza, recalls how the first years of elementary school were very difficult for Maria, which quickly affected her self-esteem. In fact, when she arrived at Fabretto for the first time, María was very shy and in a state of severe malnutrition. However, Fabretto’s enrichment program and nutritional support in partnership with Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), has led Maria to develop different skills that have allowed her to improve her school performance. Maria recognizes that to this day, Fabretto’s educational enrichment classes are her favorite. At Fabretto, teachers use play-based educational methodologies, promoting student leadership and protagonism of their own learning. “Before, I was ashamed and did not want to talk to anyone, but now I have many dreams,” Maria confesses.

Before Fabretto, María had never laid hands on a book. But when she joined the Reading Club promoted by Fabretto and in partnership with LitWorld, María discovered her passion for reading. Since then, she has devoured children’s storybooks that have let her imagination fly. Without ever having left the mountains that surround her community, today, Maria can accurately describe european castles and list all colors of Autumn seen on the other side of the world. When asked how she imagines her life when she grows up, María responds with confidence: “when I grow older, I want to travel the world and become a great teacher.”

Through quality education and balanced school meals, María has not only developed her vocabulary but has also improved her social skills and strengthened her self-esteem. Esperanza feels eternally grateful with Fabretto and, for this reason, she volunteers at her children’s school, helping cook the school meals that are served daily. She also never misses any of the parent workshops that Fabretto implements in the community, where she has learned about healthy habits and also educational techniques, which she implements with her seven children at home.

Despite the economic obstacles that Maria and her family face, the educational and nutritional support that Maria receives through Fabretto and FMSC has been true hope for their future. Today, the little girl is on her way to achieving her dreams and breaking the cycle of poverty.


In 2017, 80% of 1st–3rd grade students like Maria enrolled in Fabretto’s education enrichment program, improved their reading and writing skills (EGRA Evaluation).


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