Between North and South America is a colorful and varied region we call Central America and the Caribbean. This area boasts a geophysical variety from rugged mountains and volcanoes to tropical rain forests to palm-lined beaches. The population is primarily a mix between indigenous and African or European peoples.
This part of the world was the focus of European exploration and settlement during the 15th and 16th centuries.
More than 224 million people live in Central America and the Caribbean. The second half of the 20th century saw military dictatorships giving way to democratically elected governments in many Central American countries. However, the rapid rise of external debt and rampant inflation are key problems. In several countries, the desperation resulting from poverty, government neglect, corrupt politics, and limited economic progress has stimulated regional protest movements. In response, a number of governments have turned to brutal repression to end the protests.
Compassion first opened Central American and Caribbean child development centers in 1968 in Haiti. Since then, six more countries have been added to the effort. More than 250,000 children are being served in more than 1,365 child development centers. We're now working in: