Juigalpa is the capital of the Chontales province in central Nicaragua. The city's population of just over 70,000 makes it relatively small compared to other cities in the country, but it is still an area of economic importance.
This significance largely stems from the fact that it produces approximately 90% of the country's beef, which has made the population relatively prosperous by national standards. However, many families throughout the city continue to live in poverty and children are often the ones who suffer the most.
Legacy of war
A civil war that started in the 1970s and did not end until the latter 1980s, had a particularly damaging impact on the people of Juigalpa. The region was deeply affected by the fighting and, like elsewhere in the country, land mines buried during the conflict continue to threaten the lives of ordinary people.
Child labour affects many
Child labour remains a major problem in Nicaragua, and this is equally true of Juigalpa where most children engage in some sort of labour. Though this could include begging or selling small goods on the street, more often than not they work in the farming sector.
Around 60% of children in the labour force are employed in agriculture, mainly harvesting bananas, cotton, and tobacco. Not only are many of these children exposed to dangerous pesticides, but they also miss out on an education that would help them overcome poverty in the future.
How are we helping in Juigalpa?
We began working in Juigalpa in the early 1980s, and have been present for some of the most tumultuous periods in Nicaraguan history. We continue to adapt our approach, and the services we provide, to the changing needs of children in the region.
Community-led action to address chronic hardship
Keeping families together is one of our core aims and we are committed to working with local people to make this a reality for as many children as possible. Our family strengthening programme helps keep families together and ensure that they can provide the best possible care to their children.
Parents can access counselling and advice to help them cope with difficult situations and practical services, like day care facilities to help them stay in work. Importantly, these services are led by the families involved, so they respond directly to the needs of the community.
A happy, healthy childhood
When children can no longer live with their parents they are able to find a loving home with one of our SOS families. Here, over 120 children are given all the love and affection they need to grow up healthy and happy.
When young adults are ready to move out of their SOS family they are able to join the SOS youth programme. They are given accommodation and support from professional counsellors, as they undertake vocational training or higher education. Though they have left their SOS family, their relationship with their SOS mother often lasts for a lifetime.
From child labour and the legacy of war, children face many risks growing up in Juigalpa. Please help us by sponsoring a child.