In the mountainous rain forests surrounding Matagalpa, Nicaragua, coffee farming is an intrinsic part of the culture.
For generations, farmers have grown some of the best coffee in the world, lovingly tending the terrain, coaxing their shade-grown crop to fruition and sending its yield ~ savory, high-quality “jo” ~ to points around the globe.
Fara Foundation, an American nonprofit based in Austin, Texas is an extension of that stewardship, a bridge between the two countries, pairing international resources with the needs of Nicaraguan families and providing aid in four areas: healthcare, food assistance, education and elder care.
The medical needs are particularly grave in this region, especially when it comes to the prevention and early detection of breast cancer and cervical cancer. The former has long been a public enemy for women, but in recent decades cervical cancer has eclipsed it as the number one killer of Nicaraguan women over age 30. Our state-of-the-art clinic in Matagalpa proactively combats these diseases through testing, treatment, referrals and follow-up. We also target varicose-vein disease, a debilitating problem that affects people who work long hours on their feet, and pediatric issues including hearing and visual impairment. Regardless of healthcare needs, however, our clinic is devoted to serving all who pass through its doors. Average cost per visit is $1 — and for those who have nothing, it’s free.
Established by the owners of Fara Coffee, an Austin/Matagalpa-based coffee company specializing in rainforest grown direct-trade coffee, Fara Foundation honors Nicaragua’s agrarian heritage and is a way in which founders Manny Farahani and Maria Cisne Farahani can give back to the country where Maria’s family have farmed Arabica beans since 1912. In addition to creating a vibrant sustainable-coffee concern on those historic fincas (the Farahanis began purchasing them in the 1990s and early 2000s), the couple established Fara Foundation to help nurture and support Nicaragua’s coffee-growing community, to improve opportunity and quality of life there.
In the mid-1980s, when Matagalpa’s population was 30,000, its regional hospital was sufficient for the populace. By the mid-2000’s, however, it was clear the hospital alone couldn’t meet the demands of a new century and a ballooning population, which had topped 300,000.
The Farahanis took note. In 2008 the couple used their own money to purchase a four-story building in downtown Matagalpa and remodel it to accommodate medical facilities. A year and a half later, Fara Foundation was incorporated and headquartered in the Farahanis’ hometown of Austin.
In December of 2010, Fara Clinic opened its doors. By early 2011, the facility was serving more than 40 to 50 patients per day, with a primary focus on women’s reproductive health, pediatric care and dental care. These goals are supplemented by intensive rural outreach programs.
In 2012, Fara Clinic expanded its facilities, incorporating 2,000 more square feet of the building, bringing the clinic’s overall footage to 8,000. In 2013, we added breast cancer prevention and treatment to our range of specialties. With the help of American nonprofit organizations, the foundation secured screening and testing equipment and invited visiting health professionals to train clinic staff. Today, the clinic and its staff of 12<?> hosts and coordinates a half-dozen-plus medical missions annually. Tens of thousands of patients benefit from these missions, during which treatment focuses on vascular disease, breast and cervical cancer, hearing and visual impairment and pediatric health.
Throughout 2016, our clinic treated as many as 100 patients each day and reached an additional 2,000 each month in follow-up care. As of summer 2017, the numbers remain comparable. Equally gratifying are our ongoing partnerships with international health organizations and medical professionals from around the globe. With the help of these alliances, in 2017 Fara Clinic entered its seventh year of hosting medical brigades from the US, Europe and Latin America. These devoted brigades make invaluable contributions to our community’s collective health, and we are profoundly grateful for their time and expertise. Among those are Amigos de Salud, Global Partners/Lutheran Gunderson Healthcare Systems, Rotary International, and doctors Nick Morrison, Giovanni Mosti and Steven Reeder, among others.
In addition to Nicaragua’s medical needs, Fara helps look after the elders in our community. We have a long-standing partnership underwriting the Order of Saint Ana’s Hogar de Ancianos outside Matagalpa, a home for the elderly that accommodates 50 residents.
Also, for decades we have supported local education, supplementing regional public schools’ “wish lists”, donating for local school improvements and overseeing our own 50-student elementary school at Fara Coffee’s Santa Rita farm. The foundation offers college scholarship and other educational funding for youth who excel in their studies.
Our fourth giving program, Food Assistance provides food staples to the neediest citizens, reaching approximately 100 families monthly in the Matagalpa area. Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, and many of her hard-working families barely get by. We offer the program for those who qualify through the foundation offices at our clinic.
Over nearly eight years of service, Fara Foundation has continuously expanded our medical facilities, assistance programs and outreach programming.
Our care has now reached beyond the Nicaraguan borders and into neighboring countries. Increasingly, we’re seeing patients who’ve traveled overnight so they can be at the clinic when the doors open, and we welcome them.
Our day-to-day goal is nothing more and nothing less than to improve the overall quality of life in the region. Our founders’ abiding hope? To nurture that unbroken circle of stewardship between two parts of a whole: Nicaraguan coffee farmers and their neighbors who work the land, and those who enjoy the delicious fruits of that labor. To all, we say…thank you!!