An image of Nicaragua Where Nicaragua is in the world.

Nicaragua is in Central America, south of Honduras, above Costa Rica. It’s sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. From toucans to wild boars, Nicaragua is full of fantastic wildlife.

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Compassion’s work in Nicaragua began in 1974.


All Compassion-sponsored children in Nicaragua speak Spanish. Other dialects are used in the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua but Compassion does not currently have projects in that area of the country.

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Green turtle

Green turtles are herbivorous, apart from when young when they eat small marine creatures, such as jellyfish.

Traditional houses are built with adobe, which is a muddy mixture of clay soil, straw and water. The mixture is made into bricks to build the houses.

Living conditions

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5.7 million

There are currently more than 43,000 children registered with Compassion in Nicaragua.

Nicaragua is one of the poorest Central American countries because of nearly 200 years of dictators, wars and natural disasters. Despite all of this, the country is slowly growing.

Natural disasters, including volcanoes erupting, earthquakes and storms, have caused massive destruction to farming, making poor families poorer. Many parents find it difficult to provide for their families and to work towards a better future for their children.

One in every three children is malnourished and less than one in three finish primary school as many families cannot afford the costs. Some children are forced to work. An estimated 167,000 children are currently in the workforce.

Flick through our photo story to find out what life is like for children living in Nicaragua.

This is the type of house many people live in in Nicaragua. The country is one of the poorest Central American countries because of wars and natural disasters.

Here, Jorge walks up the steep path to his home. As you can see, Nicaragua is very beautiful.

This is Jorge’s family. They have a makeshift wooden house with a piece of cloth for a front door. Many parents find it difficult to provide for their families because of poverty.

In Nicaragua about 167,000 children have to work to support their families. Cristel often helps her grandmother sell fresh tortillas on the street to help with money.

It is hard to find safe drinking water, particularly outside of cities, so many children get ill. Here are some children from a Compassion project learning about how important it is to drink clean water. Can you guess what Agua means in Spanish?

In Nicaragua Compassion projects provide a safe place for children where they can grow and learn.

Within the Compassion projects, all of the project staff work to make sure the children feel loved and valued and that they have a safe, happy place to come to. They care very much for each of the children.

Every new child to come to the Compassion projects receives their very own Bible. They learn about God and how He loves them.

Pray for children who are malnourished in Nicaragua to get the food they need to get healthy again.

Pray for God to show children in the Compassion projects just how much He loves them.

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The Córdoba is divided into 100 centavos.

There are over 151 Compassion projects in Nicaragua.

How can you encourage your sponsored child?

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Why not write to them and mention some of the facts you’ve found here. Ask them questions about what it’s like to live in Nicaragua.

Gallo pinto is the national dish eaten throughout Nicaragua. Make some here:

Recipe: Gallo pinto (serves 4-6)

Gallo pinto (serves 4-6) Ingredients (adult help needed)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper finely chopped
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 cups of cooked red kidney beans drained (keep the liquid)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups of hot cooked rice
  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions, bell pepper and garlic and lightly fry for 2 or 3 minutes until cooked through.
  3. Stir in the kidney beans, some of their reserved liquid, salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and continue to simmer until heated through.
  5. Add the rice and stir into the beans, heating through. Serve hot.

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Lake Nicaragua is the second largest lake in Latin America. You’ll find freshwater sharks known as Nicaraguan sharks (also known as Zambezi, bull or Zambi sharks) there so watch out if you go for a paddle.

What does a turtle do on its birthday?

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It shellebrates!

Information sources: The CIA World Fact Book 2011, Compassion International, Human Development Report, BBC, BBC Nature, Wikipedia