Business trip becomes opportunity to help Nicaragua school -- Gazette.Net


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It wasn’t an average business trip to begin with, but Mayorga Coffee’s visit to Nicaragua became even more unconventional when it prompted a fundraiser for a preschool.

In December, several Mayorga Coffee employees and Martin Mayorga, founder and president of the Rockville-based company, took an “origin trip” to Nicaragua to meet the farmers and see the area where their coffee comes from. They also toured Maria Auxiliadora, a preschool in the town of Ocotal that has a partnership with Fabretto Children’s Foundation, an organization that supports education in Latin American countries.

“Their whole process is to break the cycle of poverty through education,” Mayorga said.

Sean Kelly, a Georgetown University senior traveling with the group on behalf of Students of Georgetown Inc., pointed out a problem with a classroom’s roof. It had been damaged during the rainy season and was buckling, right above where young students would be sitting. The school had done a makeshift fix, Mayorga said, but the roof was still sagging in one area.

Fabretto, which provides enrichment programs and teacher training for the school, estimated that fixing the roof permanently would cost about $2,000.

Mayorga, who grew up in Nicaragua, said customers often ask how they can help the communities their coffee comes from. To get the roof fixed, Mayorga turned to his customers and fans on social media, asking people to donate to Fabretto.

“Anywhere we do business, we want to make sure our impact is positive,” Mayorga said. “... Our trips aren’t, ‘Get to the airport, drive up to the farm and leave.’”

Within just three days, people had given well more than the $2,000 needed to make repairs.

Repair work has not yet started, but when it does, people can follow the progress on the company’s blog at mayorgacoffee.com/blog. Mayorga said he wants people to be able to see where their money went and how they are connected to people in other countries.

“A lot of people don’t realize how connected we are to people all over the world,” he said.

ewaibel@gazette.net