The city of Rivas is often called 'the Gateway to Ometepe Island' due to being situated on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, the country's largest lake. This relatively small city of 30,000 people is located around 110km from the country's capital and is close to the border with Costa Rica.
Despite its scenic location, life for the people of Rivas is difficult. The city suffers from high levels of poverty and unemployment and the area was deeply affected by violence during the country's brutal civil war.
Travelling to work
Rivas is widely known as a border town between Nicaragua and Costa Rica. This location and the lack of employment opportunities in the country has led many residents of the city to cross this border in order to find work.
Usually it is the men who travel to find employment with the intention of sending money back to help support their families. They leave behind wives and children who struggle to make ends meet in their absence. This trend has led the area to suffer from particularly high rates of child abandonment and single parent families, both of which have an impact on future opportunities.
Working to support their families
The high levels of poverty that families in Rivas face has forced them to rely on any, and every, source of income that they can find. Just as elsewhere in Nicaragua, there are large numbers of children employed in a range of industries to help support their families.
Many of these children work on family farms, and are literally helping to put food on the table. However, this severely disadvantages these children, as they miss out on an education that would help open doors later on in life.
What is SOS Children's Villages doing in Rivas?
We have been working in Rivas since 2008, and we aim to continue expanding the support that we give to children and families throughout the region.
Dealing with disaster
In 2007, heavy flooding seemed to spell disaster for our work in Rivas. Thousands of people throughout Nicaragua were affected by this disaster and our newly opened SOS Children's Village was no exception.
When the floods hit the SOS Children's Village Rivas was completely inundated by water, making it an unsafe and inhospitable place to be. We were forced to evacuate the few families that had already moved in, but following the floods they were able to return and we could begin our work again.
The love of a family
Now, up to 126 children who are unable to stay with their parents are able to find a loving home with one of our SOS families in Rivas. These children have had a difficult start in life, but with the love and support of their SOS mother they will be able to turn it around.
A loving family is the best environment for children to grow up in, and we believe that everyone deserves this opportunity. No other organisation in the region offers this family-based care, so the work of SOS Children's Villages is particularly important.
We give children in Rivas a loving and caring home. Will you help us and become a sponsor today?