In Rural Nicaragua
- Nicaragua is bounded by Honduras to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
- The western half of Nicaragua is made up generally of valleys separated by low but rugged mountains and many volcanoes.
- The eastern half of Nicaragua has low, level plains.
- The Pacific side of the country is characterized by a rainy season from May to November and a dry season from December to April.
- On the Caribbean side, the rainy season lasts for about nine months of the year, and a dry season extends from March through May.
Of Nicaragua’s 5.8 million people, about 40 percent live in rural communities.
Most rural parents work in agriculture-based jobs, either on their own small plots of land or on larger farms or cattle ranches.
Children at Home
Houses in rural Nicaragua are small and made from brick, wood or bamboo and other scrap materials, but often have large courtyards with a primitive kitchen, shower, bathroom and laundry area.
Most families have a garden, and some even have wells. But very few have running water.
Homes have an average of eight family members.
Issues and Concerns
- Rural communities need better schools, more job opportunities, higher wages and more access to health care.
- A lack of hope seems to be at the root of many of these extreme poverty issues.
Local Needs and Challenges
Physical development issues
Malnutrition and preventable illnesses, combined with the lack of adequate medical care, put young lives in danger daily.
The lack of adequate education opportunities holds children back from reaching their full potential.
Compassion and our local church partners in Nicaragua are diligently working to meet these challenges for rural children, to provide them help for today and hope for a brighter future.
Schools and Education
- Rural Nicaraguan society is largely undereducated — students take an average of 10.3 years to complete the mandatory six years of schooling.
- Many children have to walk three or four miles to get to their schools, and most classrooms lack basic things like chairs, supplies or even roofs.
- Countrywide, one in four children are not in the school system simply because many families can't afford costs associated with school, such as uniforms or supplies.
Compassion Nicaragua works to ensure that every registered child is able to attend elementary school, and additional support, including tutoring, is provided at the child development centers.
At the Compassion Child Development Center
Child development centers in rural communities provide registered children with a place to learn, grow and study.
Sponsorship allows staff to provide Bible teaching, medical exams, health and hygiene instruction, educational tours and classes, social events, tutoring and life-skills and vocational training.
Centers also provide opportunities for involvement by the parents or guardians of sponsored children.
The children spend time writing to and praying for their sponsors.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
In partnership with local churches, Compassion is bringing real help and hope to impoverished children in rural Nicaragua, providing:
- regular nutritious meals and snacks
- health checkups and medical care as needed
- the support needed to attend school
- mosquito nets and repellents for many registered children to protect them from dengue fever
- spiritual nurture where children spend time in prayer, songs and devotionals every time they come to the center; they also make crafts that remind them of God's love for them.
- special interventions as needed. For example, recently some families were provided new roofs for their houses. The churches also covered parts of their property with crushed rocks and sand so children can easily walk around rather than getting muddy.