POSTED November 11, 2019
Celebrating 25 years of helping kids in Nicaragua reach their dreams
Last month, I introduced us as Children Believe in Canada. Days later, I joined our local staff in Nicaragua to celebrate 25 years of working with government and local partners to help children and youth improve their well-being and their futures.
I was grateful to our dedicated team and the blessings our donors are giving to more than 10,000 children, representing more than 15 communities in Nicaragua.
I saw the difference we’re making through my sponsored child, Maryenis (below), and was encouraged to meet her for the second time in as many years and hear her goals.
She’s still focused on her quest to become a nurse, just like when we talked in 2017 — when she first told me she wanted to give back to her community.
Our sponsorship program has nurtured Maryenis and her town. Parents now understand how education impacts the well-being of their children and the entire community.
And, Maryenis is already putting new leadership skills to use as a member of her local youth network. I’m impressed to hear the 14-year-old gives talks to children in her school on issues such as preventing bullying and early pregnancy.
Thankfully, children and youth in her town are also being empowered to improve their social and leadership skills, so they can use their voices to spur positive change, too.
In fact, our programs help empower youth leadership and improve their employability. We work with all teens but focus on young women who traditionally face gender-specific barriers to accessing training as well as finding and keeping a job.
Thanks to these activities, many youth who previously had difficulty securing full-time, permanent positions will have access to technical, job-readiness, life-skills and vocational training as well as scholarships and internships, among other resources. That’s a huge opportunity for thousands of youth who previously saw no hope in their future.
I’m sure many of you understand how important it is to keep youth engaged and excited about their future in a difficult job market. This can help them on that journey, and that’s a victory for a child, their family, their community and the local economy.
I’m immensely proud of all that’s been accomplished and what’s to come in the next 25 years in Nicaragua and other regions of the world where we work. I’m looking forward to growing together, continuing to learn new ways to make lasting change for thousands and to seeing Maryenis and her peers realize their dreams.