Latest update

Nicaragua’s ministry of health reported a downward curve of new COVID-19 cases, with official numbers on 22 October counting 5353 positive cases and 154 deaths. However, the number of deaths in Nicaragua with COVID-19 symptoms is closer to 2760, according to a report released on 9 October by a network of doctors and volunteers. There are also increasing rates of malnutrition throughout the country. Nicaragua is reopening for tourism without travel restrictions, quarantine requirements or curfews.

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COVID-19 in Nicaragua

How is Compassion currently operating in Nicaragua?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    At this point, all centres in Nicaragua are closed in order to abide by local guidelines, but staff members at many centres have begun developing reopening plans.

    Staff members are still calling and checking in on families, and in some communities they are able to visit children while obeying social distancing guidelines.

    Since the pandemic began, staff members have distributed 184,328 food packs and 90,212 hygiene kits and provided 3593 individuals with medical support.

    Some church partners have been able to provide spiritual content through videos and messaging apps. Staff members have also been able to arrange for telehealth for children who need medical care. Tutors check in regularly with the children, sending them encouraging messages.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    We are unable to safely deliver letters to children in Nicaragua at this point. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed in Nicaragua. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to an appropriate, verified caregiver, if necessary. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognising that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for children and families in Nicaragua who have been impacted by COVID-19—and the local staff and churches who continue to serve them in difficult circumstances.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • That those who are still recovering from COVID-19 would be completely healed and have no lasting complications.
  • The medication would quickly treat and cure Dayana’s kidney infection, and she would recover as soon as possible.
  • Wisdom and guidance for the centre staff, doctors, and Byron’s parents as they seek to stabilize and manage Byron’s diabetes.
  • Wisdom for the doctors as they determine that is causing José to be so ill. Pray for José and his family as they wait for the results of the tests that they would feel God’s peace.
  • God's peace would be with Blanca and her family as she was recently as she was recently diagnosed with cancer. Pray that God would be her strength and comfort as she undergoes the upcoming tests and treatment.
  • God would continue to bless and provide for NI0296 as they build additional classrooms to serve more children in their community.
Fighting Malnutrition in Nicaragua

Fighting Malnutrition in Nicaragua

When COVID-19 struck Nicaragua, the already struggling country saw a rise in unemployment, especially in rural communities. The ability to provide nutritious food for their children became a challenge for parents and caregivers.   Read more open_in_new

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Please note: Due to the current pandemic, most child development centres in Nicaragua are temporarily closed. Local church partners continue to meet the urgent needs of the children through home-based care.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in Nicaragua

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care and attend one group activity at the Compassion centre each month.
  • Children aged 4 to 12 visit the Compassion centre for six to eight hours a week across three days.
  • Students aged 12 and older attend the centre for four hours twice a week to learn vocational skills.
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Compassion Program Activities in Nicaragua

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Compassion assisted children in Nicaragua typically attend program activities at their local child development centre after school and on Saturdays. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in Nicaragua.

Devotional time - Children learn to pray.

Spiritual lessons - Children sing songs and learn Bible stories.

Break time - Children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships.

Social-emotional lessons - Children learn conflict resolution skills and how to develop healthy self-esteem. Many children come from challenging home environments and are taught social and personal skills.

Lunch and social time - Children usually receive a meal consisting of rice, meat, tortilla and natural juice, tea or cereal. Children sometimes receive a snack of fruit salad, rice with milk or a thick hot drink made from corn meal.

Health lessons - Children learn practical health and hygiene tips.

Letter writing and career planning - Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests and set goals for their future.

The children also enjoy camps, sports, field trips and art. Students can participate in vocational training workshops in music, computer literacy, sewing, carpentry, baking, hair styling, entrepreneurship and handicrafts. Parents and caregivers meet monthly.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in Nicaragua

74

years is the average life expectancy

17%

of people over 15 cannot read and write

32%

of people lack access to proper sanitation

Nicaragua spiralled into crisis in 2018, with political protest erupting into widespread violence. Thousands fled the country, most heading south into Costa Rica, and life is increasingly difficult. In the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, information has been slow to emerge and the nation’s President, Daniel Ortega has publicly dismissed the risks.

In April 2018, the Ortega government announced reforms to Nicaragua’s pension system. The announcement was greeted by initial protests that were crushed by pro-government groups, but the heavy-handed response triggered widespread outrage, mass protests across the country, and ever more violence. More than 300 people were killed and thousands injured.

In the years since his crackdown on the protests, President Ortega and his wife, Rosario Murillo, who is the nation’s vice-president, have seized even more power, taking full control over all branches of government.

After a long history of colonisation and military rule, Nicaragua has struggled to provide its citizens with basic services. Most of its wealth is held by a small group of wealthy families. The majority of Nicaraguans subsist on very low wages and children have been the worst affected.

In the early part of this decade, Nicaragua had made some economic progress: its economy was growing and it had largely avoided the cartel and gang-related crime racking its northern neighbours, El Salvador and Honduras.

But progress has stalled under the COVID-19 pandemic. As in several other Central and South American nations, medical experts have questioned the official data as hospitals have struggled to keep up with a growing number of cases.

Many children face a new threat of hunger, and the ever-present risks of gang life and child labour trap thousands.

Local churches continue to reach out to children living in poverty, helping them to gain access to education, nutrition and the love of Jesus expressed through the local church.

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