Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Caribbean Sea on the east. With lush valleys and rainforests, stunning mountains, lakes and volcanoes, picturesque beaches, and Spanish-colonial towns, Nicaragua is seeing a boom in tourism.
Despite this, Nicaragua is also the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere after Haiti, and its population struggles with poor access to education, employment, clean water and health services.
Around three-quarters of the people here live on less than $2 a day, according to the United Nations, and on average, Nicaraguans complete less than five years of school. This has left nearly 25 percent of the population illiterate, according to UNESCO, and forced 15 percent of children between five and 15 into some sort of child labor.
Free The Children has a rich history in Nicaragua dating from the late 1990s. In response to the country’s continued need, Free The Children is now partnering with several communities in the Central Pacific Region to eliminate the obstacles that prevent children from accessing education.
Sustainability is the goal of Adopt a Village. From the very beginning, we work closely with community leaders, families, educators and students to ensure that the local community is empowered and given ownership over each Adopt a Village project, whether that’s a school building, school group, clean water well or alternative income project. Together we:
Here are some of the projects we are proud to partner on in Nicaragua.
El Trapiche is a very small, rural 100 percent Mestizo community – a term used in Nicaragua to describe people of mixed Latin American and Spanish decent.
Before Free The Children partnered with El Trapiche, the closest school was in a town four kilometers away—a 40 minute walk through a canyon that fills with water up to three meters high during the rainy season from May till November. No surprise: parents stopped sending their young children to school, although they supported the importance of education.
The first priority: building classrooms. Together, Free The Children and the community built the first primary school including a hand-washing station, clean water system, latrines and a school garden. Children are now enrolled in pre-school and grades 1 through 6.
Alternative Income and Livelihood programing followed including the community’s first-ever women’s group formed to create income opportunities for women in the community.