Estelí is situated in north-eastern Nicaragua, and is the capital of the province with the same name. With a growing population that currently stands at 125,000, the city is the third largest in the country and is a major commercial centre.
Estelí is particularly well known for its cigars, being one of the most important cigar producing cities in the whole world. However, many families still struggle with poverty and the effects of multiple natural and manmade disasters.
Disaster after disaster
In 1972, an earthquake rocked the country levelling the capital city, Managua, and devastating other regions, like Estelí. The damage caused by this crisis was matched by the destruction caused when Hurricane Mitch hit in 1998.
Added to these crises, was the harm done by the deadly civil war in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Estelí was the worst affected region in the country and it is estimated that 15,000 people were killed in this area alone.
The impact of these disasters continues to affect people's lives to this day, and overcoming these challenges will be key to ensuring bright futures for the region's children.
High levels of poverty mean that many children have to go to work in order to help support their families. When this happens, they miss out on educational opportunities that would open doors later in life and help them escape poverty.
Even more worrying are the childhoods that are scarred by family disintegration and domestic violence. Poverty is a contributing factor in these situations, so it remains important to combat this root cause and give children a safe environment to grow up in.
SOS Children's Villages' work in Estelí
We started working in Estelí in 1973 in response to the need for relief following the devastating earthquake. Since then we have worked to overcome the more deep seated issues that negatively affect children here.
Helping struggling parents
Our family strengthening programme, which is run through the SOS social centre here, is at the heart of the work we do in Estelí. It provides a range of services that help struggling families to overcome the challenges they face and care for their children.
We offer training for parents to help them develop their parenting skills and cope with the challenges they face in their everyday lives. We also provide practical services, like a day care centre where working parents can leave their children safely whilst they go to work.
When children can no longer stay with their parents, they are able to find a loving home with one of our SOS families at our SOS Children's Village Estelí. Here, they are cared for by their SOS mother and given all the care and attention they need to flourish.
All of them attend the local SOS school with 1,200 other children from the community. This experience helps them to make friends and learn social skills that will be invaluable in later life. More broadly, the SOS school gives the children of Estelí educational opportunities that will help them prosper as adults.
With a growing population still reeling from civil war, and children forced into work by poverty, families in Estelí need our support. Please help by sponsoring a child.