At 14 years of age, Reyna Elizabeth is in 5th grade. She lives in the small community of Nueva Esperanza in Las Sabanas, Nicaragua, where she now has the luxury of attending a school that’s less than a 5-minute walk from home.
Reyna’s humble house is built of adobe, with a low tin roof and barely any windows. It’s been raining for days and her mother, Doña Reyna, is worried the small retaining walls surrounding the house will not hold. With a pained look in her face, the mother of 9 recalls her family’s experience with hurricane Mitch in 1998. The family was living in the community of El Encino when the non-stop rains began. Without any warning, the house, with the family in it, flooded with mud waist deep. One of her sons was dragged a few feet, but they were able to rescue him. Having lost their home of many years, the family moved to Nueva Esperanza where they had to start anew.
When Reyna was in first grade, she had so much trouble learning to read and write, that she had to repeat first grade twice. However, despite the circumstances, with the help of Fabretto’s Educational Enrichment Program, Reyna Elizabeth has not let her learning disability bring her down. This year, she has joined a LitClub. With 13 members (all girls), her club is called The Maidens of the Garden. In addition to reading together and reading to younger children in their school, the girls are always looking for ways to help out in their community. This week, they are donating C$10 (about $0.30) each to help buy vitamins for a local girl who has fallen ill. LitClub has taught Reyna so much; from learning to listen to others with respect, to overcoming shyness by practicing oral presentations, she is ready to achieve her short-term goal: finishing primary school, something her mother was never able to accomplish.
Reyna’s community service does not stop there, however. At home, she patiently helps her mother practice her reading and writing. Doña Reyna only made it to 3rd grade and never developed a habit of reading. Now, with Reyna’s help, at age 49, Doña Reyna is starting to read again. “The fact that my mother is now starting to read is like a miracle. I’ve come a long way and I want the same for her, too,” comments the girl. The proud mother boasts about her daughter’s accomplishments in reading and writing, but she also celebrates her own. When it comes to numbers, Doña Reyna is a pro; “I even went to the bank the other day! Other people here are too afraid to go, but I don’t mind,” she tells us proudly.
After completing her schooling, Reyna’s wish is to become a doctor. “Why? Because I want to give shots!” she answers, laughing. Through access to quality education, we are confident Reyna’s wish will come true.
Will you make a miracle for children like Reyna? This holiday season, you can make their wish come true by supporting Fabretto education programs in Nicaragua.