Fara Foundation, a Texas-based nonprofit promoting cervical cancer prevention and treatment in Nicaragua, is an affair of the heart for Maria and Manny Farahani. The owners of Fara Coffee, a direct-trade gourmet coffee produced in Nicaragua and craft-roasted in Austin, view the cultivation of shade-grown, hand-picked Arabica beans as more than a family tradition — particularly Maria, a fourth-generation coffee farmer from Matagalpa, northern Nicaragua. As Fara Coffee has become a national brand in the United States, Maria and Manny have used their resources to start Fara Foundation, launched in 2010 to bridge resources and needs between the U.S. and Nicaragua. And we’ve grown fast: Over the past three years, Fara Foundation evolved from a conversation among concerned friends into a state-of-the-art health clinic, our own Clinica Fara, which provides virtually free dental and medical care. With a staff of 12, our clinic treats more than 50 underserved patients daily and has become a regional center for the early detection and treatment of cervical cancer, the leading killer of Nicaraguan women over 30. Fara Foundation also has three basic-care aid programs: Food Assistance, Education, and Elder Care.
As we’ve expanded, so have our reputation and services. By August of 2012, we will have conducted five intensive medical missions, bringing cleft palate and varicose vein specialists to Matagalpa. Varicose vein disease is pervasive among impoverished laborers throughout the region — hard-working people whose lack of access to medical care can result in severe ulceration and infection of the lower legs, amputation, even death. And we’re thrilled to say that Fara Foundation’s focus on cervical cancer is making a clear impact in northern Nicaragua: Since early 2012, Clinica Fara has become the referral hub for four regional health clinics, as well as the Matagalpa Regional Hospital. Clinica Fara is the only facility in the region that can treat in situ cervical cancer with both LEEP procedure and Cryotherapy. Our outreach programs, coordinated by the clinic’s on-staff social workers, canvas the countryside weekly, meeting with female coffee workers to educate them to the threat of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus that leads to cervical cancer. We know that cervical cancer is preventable and we believe that, with education and better availability of health care, the epidemic in Nicaragua can be stopped.
Who Benefits From This Project?
Fara Foundation’s programs target the underserved in northern Nicaragua, the heart of coffee-growing country. We have four branches of assistance: Clinica Fara (Health Care/Cervical Cancer Prevention), Food Assistance, Education and Elder Care. Health care programming is conducted through our Clinica Fara, based in Matagalpa city and treating more than 50 patients per day; for the poorest, our fee for any service, medical or dental, is approximately $1.25. Each month, our gyno-urologist and her RN see upwards of 100 women who are seeking cervical cancer treatment or early testing for HPV. Our Education programs provide elementary schooling for 35 to 45 students on Fara Coffee’s Finca Santa Rita; we also support regional public schools, fulfilling wish lists (books, athletic equipment, basketball courts, musical instruments, lunches), and we help underwrite Spain-based nonprofit Infancia Sin Fronteras, which feeds and educates 15,000 students daily. Through our Elder Care program, we underwrite 40 percent of the monthly budget for the Hogar de Ancianos San Francisco de Asis, overseen by four nuns from the Order of Santa Anita. And finally, our Food Assistance ensures that 50 of the neediest families in the region have basic provisions each month, including sugar, beans, maize and flour.
How Can I Help?
We accept financial and in-kind donations. We welcome volunteer services from doctors and nurses around the globe and host regular medical missions in northern Nicaragua. We can always use medical supplies and equipment, construction materials (we often help repair infrastructure in the region) and experts representing any of our four assistance divisions: Food, Elder Care, Education and Health Care/Cervical Cancer Prevention. We also hope you will visit our website, www.farafoundation.org or www.fundacionfara.org. And “like” us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/farafoundation