Location and general information
Nicaragua continues to face significant development challenges, including precarious employment and persistent poverty. Many families are struggling to make ends meet and provide food and basic necessities for their children. This affects the socio-emotional well-being of children who suffer from chronic stress, resulting in irritability, anxiety, headaches, and difficulty concentrating.
In addition, Nicaraguan children, especially in rural communities, still face limited access to quality education. Those that do attend school, receive just four hours of classes per day for four days per week.
To support these populations in education and offer them relevant extracurricular activities, the Fabretto Children’s Foundation set up the Play to Learn project, funded by the UEFA Foundation for Children in 2019. By providing organised team sports activities for girls and boys, Fabretto has found a valuable way to enrich the afterschool programme with more emphasis on sports for childhood development and gender inclusion. Physical activities during childhood have a positive effect on mental health in adolescence and later in life.
The foundation’s contribution enables Fabretto to further develop meaningful extracurricular activities in some of the most vulnerable communities in Nicaragua. Fabretto focuses on linking education to sports and recreational activities, especially by training children's football teams in rural communities.
Since the project is run in the Fabretto Education Centres and in the participating schools, capacities are built directly within the communities, creating a lasting impact with educators and sports coaches better equipped for the next generations of pupils.
The objectives of the Play to Learn 2.0 project are:
- extend the programme to 780 students in vulnerable communities with educational enrichment and/or leisure activities for the duration of the project;
- increase the participation of girls and young women in sports and recreational activities in order to reduce traditional assumptions and stereotypes about roles, and thereby promote gender equality;
- bridge the gender gap through activities shared by girls and boys, and to include boys and men in the process;
- train teachers and coaches how to promote active learning through play and student engagement;
- involve parents in workshops to raise awareness of the importance of education and physical activity.
- Regular – weekly or bi-weekly – football training sessions led by trained coaches.
- Each session includes a short literacy activity, warm-up, technical practice, and stretching or cool-down exercises.
- Sports activities are used to instil values of fairness and competition, while fostering a sense of belonging and team spirit, helping students to develop their social and soft skills. The overall goal is to reduce stress and anxiety and to improve the overall mental health of children in extremely vulnerable rural communities.
- Fabretto also uses team sports to help students overcome negative thoughts and high levels of anxiety and stress so that they become more relaxed, improve their mental health and overall achieve better learning results.
- Timid and anxious children enrolled in the afterschool programme, who might not naturally join a sports team, are encouraged to take part in the football practice. This has become an effective way to reach some of the children most in need of social interaction and developing social skills.
- The Fabretto Children’s Foundation will provide 780 children with educational and recreational activities; 550 students will join football teams.
- The project aims to promote gender equality by increasing the participation of girls in sport and combating traditional gender role assumptions and stereotypes.
- Teachers and sports coaches will be trained to play the critical role of leading activities and guiding the pupils through the learning process.
- Parent workshops will raise awareness of the importance of education and physical activities.
- Children will be better educated and become more confident, integrated members of society, with a greater chance of a positive socio-economic future.
- The institutionalisation of safe environments for sports and play in each community will foster healthy, safe communities enabling children to learn and grow