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Snapshot of Nicaragua


years is the average life expectancy


of people over 15 cannot read or write


lack access to improved sanitation

Nicaragua spiralled into crisis in 2018, with political protest erupting into widespread violence. Thousands have fled the country, most heading south into Costa Rica, and life is increasingly difficult.

In April, 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 have been killed and thousands injured since protests began. Protestors blame security forces and paramilitary groups for the violence, while the authorities have labelled the protestors “terrorists” and continued to back riot police and other groups who are using live ammunition against them.

The Catholic church has offered to mediate the stand-off and been turned down. Protestors are demanding President Ortega’s resignation; the President—a former revolutionary himself—claims he still has majority popular support and won’t step down or call an early election. The next election is not due until 2021 and there is no resolution in sight. Meanwhile, the economic conditions are deteriorating; work is scarce and more and more people are struggling to meet their basic needs.

In the years before this new conflict swept the nation, Nicaragua had been making progress: its economy was growing and it had largely avoided the cartel and gang-related crime racking its northern neighbours, El Salvador and Honduras. Now it faces deep uncertainty and the risk of thousands slipping even further into poverty.

William Gutierrez

Letter from Compassion Nicaragua Director William José Gutiérrez Rojas

Dear Sponsor, Dear brothers and sisters, it is a privilege for me to write and greet all of you. My name is William José Gutiérrez Rojas. During 14 years, since 2003, I have been the Country Director of Compassion Nicaragua, located in Central America. It has been more than 16 years since the ministry was launched in this country; among challenges, we are helping more than 56,000 children, to release them from poverty in Jesus’ name. They are supported by 181 church partners.

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Wilmer’s Education

Wilmer’s father worked in farming, but at the beginning of 2016 he left the family and did not return. He gave no warning and left his children devastated. In his absence, Wilmer’s mother, Elvira, began to make and sell tortillas to provide for the family. Every day at 4am, she rose to grind the corn to make the tortillas.

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Prayer requests for Nicaragua

  • Please pray for God’s peace in Nicaragua; pray that the violence will stop and that peace talks can begin. Pray that those who have been injured will be able to seek treatment, that the displaced will be able to return to their homes without fear, that the families of those killed will have justice.
  • Pray for the protection of Compassion assisted children and their families, and for the churches that continue to offer God’s hope and love to the communities around them especially in such troubled times. Pray for their ministries to continue and even to flourish as people are drawn to His peace in the midst of conflict.
  • Please pray for Genesis Hernendez, a nine-year-old Compassion assisted girl who recently fell from the second storey of a building and was rushed to hospital. Pray for her as she has recently undergone surgery; her situation is very delicate. Pray for her family and community.
  • Please also pray for five-year-old Denis Paniagua; he has recently been diagnosed with a cancerous tumour in his neck. Pray that he will receive treatment and make a full recovery, and please pray for his family to experience God’s peace as they support him in the coming months.
  • And please pray for the financial stability of the children’s families; a lot of them have lost their jobs because of the very delicate economic situation of the country. Pray for God’s strength and provision.

Stories from Compassion in Nicaragua

02 Mar, 2020

Four Things You Didn't Know About Poverty

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22 May, 2019

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12 Apr, 2018

What Possessions Do Children Living in Poverty Treasure Most?

From remote, isolated tribal communities to bustling cities and crowded slums, 10 children in our Child Sponsorship Program share their treasured possessions. These are their beautiful, surprising and funny answers... Read more