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SOS Children's Villages began working in Nicaragua in 1973 following the earthquake which destroyed the capital of Managua, building a community in Esteli in northwest Nicaragua about 150 km from the capital. There are now four communities, as well as numerous social welfare and educational projects which also benefit local communities. … more about our charity work in Nicaragua

Giving girls a chance

Bangladesh is just one of many countries where we transform girls' lives
Bangladesh is just one of many countries where we transform girls' lives

With International Women's Day just a few days away, we look at how we are transforming the lives of the world's most vulnerable girls and women.

Life can be that much harder for girls. In disadvantaged communities, girls face the same pressures as boys and men. Often, they face discrimination and marginalisation as well, and sometimes exploitation and abuse. We work to ensure that girls can enjoy the same opportunities as boys. Here's a flavour of what we are doing to help.

Getting a taste for school

School is hard enough, let alone if you don’t start till you're ten years old. Adriana from Nicaragua has a story to inspire us all.

At 10 years old, Adriana had never put her hand up in class, played hopscotch in the playground, or stared blankly out of a classroom window. Every morning, she would watch as the other children made their way to school, and imagine what it would be like to go with them. But as one of eight children in an impoverished family from the Tecuaname community of Chinandega, her parents simply couldn’t afford to let her go.

Two girls from Matagalpa Nicaragua
Smiling at school - in class at an SOS school in Nicaragua

“Me and my brothers and sisters did not go to school,” Adriana remembers. “Some of them learned to read and write from some men who lived on farms where we lived”. She was unable to remain with her family and eventually, she came into her care, moving to our Children's Village in nearby Leon.

Adriana was delighted to finally start school. “I am happy to put on my uniform and go out to school with my friends from the Village”, she says excitedly. But with such a late start, she was not always a confident learner: “Sometimes I felt that I would not be able to write, but my SOS mother constantly motivated and supported me at home”. Maria, her SOS mother, remembers Adriana’s determination to succeed: “She is a very applied girls, and strives to learn more and more”.

Adriana has lots of hopes and aspirations. She is a bubbly little girl; full of excitement and determination, and wants desperately to succeed. Despite a hard start in life, she has what is takes to flourish - and we think she will go on to do great things.

Adriana is just one of many children we give a better life in six locations across Nicaragua. Find out more and learn how you can help.

Helping mums go it alone

The story of a mother called Lenu who is one of many women we are helping towards financial independence in Jos, Nigeria.

SOS mother and girlThings couldn’t have been tougher for Lenu. She was left alone when her husband was killed in an attack. Her in-laws expected her to follow tradition and marry their younger son, and when she refused, they forced Lenu and her six children from the home she had built with her husband. Alone and with no money, she and her family took to squatting in an empty building. Her children dropped out of school, and Lenu and her family relied on the generosity of neighbours to get by.

When we found out that Lenu had fallen on desperate times, we stepped in to help her little family survive. We provided a small apartment where she could live with her children temporarily, and acted as mediators between her and her late husband’s family. Eventually, she was able to return to her home.

Lenu had got her home back, but without her husband, she had no means of supporting her children. We trained her in how to run a business, and provided support and guidance to help her raise her children alone.

Today, Lenu runs a successful business selling hot food, and she doesn’t need our help any more. In fact, she’s helping us. Lenu is a community volunteer; encouraging other women to go it alone in the world of business. In Nigeria and around the world, we help many women like Lenu create a sustainable income for their families. We provide the initial training and financial support needed to get started, as well as help on money management so that families can thrive long into the future.

We help the most vulnerable families in Nicaragua. By providing a loving home to children who have lost their parents, and supporting fragile families in the community, we give young people get the best start in life. Find out more.