In Managua, life can be challenging for thousands of young children

Children in our care have a secure home and environment to grow up in (photo: SOS archives).
Children in our care have a secure home and environment to grow up in (photo: SOS archives).

The city of Managua is the capital of Nicaragua. It is located in the southern part of the country, on the shores of Lake Xolotlán. Around two million Nicaraguans live there, making Managua Nicaragua's most populated city. A vast proportion of Managua's population is heavily affected by high levels of poverty and poor infrastructure. In fact, Managua remains the poorest capital in Central America.

Thousands of children continue to be without access to running water, electricity and decent housing. The Acahualinca and Jorge Dimitrov neighbourhoods are particularly impoverished. Many children who are from these areas resort to begging and selling merchandise in order to eke out a living. Instead of going to school, they have to make money to financially support their parents. For most Managüenses, as the residents of Managua are called in Spanish, having a few coins ready for the children who approach them while waiting at the traffic lights is part of their daily routine. Around 25,000 children all across the country work on the streets.

Providing a loving home and a safe environment for Managua's children

Over recent years, the Nicaraguan government has launched a number of projects to help Managua's poor and abandoned children. However, tens of thousands of children still face a life full of hardships. It was against this background that SOS Children's Villages decided to implement its third programme in Nicaragua after the ones that had previously existed in Estelí and Juigalpa, Just like in the other two SOS Children's Villages in Nicaragua, our organisation provides support for children who cannot be taken care of by their biological families. Through our SOS Social Centre, we offer SOS Family Strengthening Programmes where children who are at risk of losing parental care receive our support so that they can continue to grow up within their own loving family.

What we do in Managua

Celebrating together SOS Children's Village Managua (photo: SOS archives)
Celebrating together SOS Children's Village Managua (photo: SOS archives)

The SOS Children's Village in Managua took in the first children in November 1995. It is located just outside the capital in a beautiful residential area with many trees and green spaces.

Family strengthening: Our organisation has been offering a holistic package of services to vulnerable children and families in Managua. These services include family strengthening programmes through which we aim to prevent family break ups, loving homes for children who grow up without parental care, an SOS youth programme and vocational training opportunities.

At our SOS Social Centres in Managua we offer counselling, psychological support and child day-care. The SOS Family Strengthening Programmes enable children who are at risk of losing parental care to grow up within their own family. Many young mothers have successfully been seeking our support. They are now able to go to work and earn a living while their children are being looked after our day-care centres.

Care in families: At our SOS Children's Village Managua we support of up to 126 children who grow up in SOS families. In their spare time, the children can enjoy numerous facilities, including a library, a multipurpose hall and sports facilities.

Support for young people: We support young people until they are able to live independently. We give them access to further education and vocational training so that they have the right skills to find a job, or start their own business. With the support of qualified youth workers, the young people develop perspectives for their future, learn to shoulder responsibility and increasingly make their own decisions.