Nicaragua, a country of nearly 6 million people, is juxtaposed between beautifully inspiring scenery of volcanoes, pristine lakes, and beaches with the harsh reality of extreme poverty that tarnishes the country’s cities, towns and villages and burdens its people with difficulties unconceivable in the developed world. Nicaraguans, a mix of European, indigenous and Afro-Caribbean ethnicities, have long struggled to overcome these difficulties, and promote social and economic development. Unfortunately, Nicaragua offers little in the way of a social safety net for the disadvantaged. Today, Fabretto has become a vital partner in providing an ever growing number of Nicaraguans with a more just and dignified life, offering new opportunities and new hopes to those in greatest need, through programs in education, health, food security, and nutrition.
Nicaragua is named so after the indigenous tribal leader, Nicarao, that lived around Lake Nicaragua in the late 15th and early 16th century. The country gained independence from Spain in 1821 and became an independent republic in 1838. After almost 150 years of cyclical civil wars due to political strife, Nicaraguans have lived in relative peace since 1990.
Nicaragua’s GDP in 2010 was $6.55 billion, with a growth rate of 4.5%. According to governmental sources, the country’s per capita GDP is $1,126, the lowest in the Central American region. The service industry accounts for more than half of Nicaragua’s GDP, followed with industry and agriculture. Tourism has been growing in Nicaragua for the past decade, as the country has been promoted in international travel publications as an undiscovered treasure. With destinations such as San Juan del Sur, Granada, Ometepe, and several active volcanoes on the Pacific Rim’s “Ring of Fire”, Nicaragua attracted one million tourists in 2010. In addition to tourism, Nicaragua’s economy depends on coffee, seafood, sugar, beef and industrial products. Key trading partners include the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Nicaragua is the 2nd poorest country on the continent, suffering from some of the worst poverty conditions in the Western Hemisphere. Official unemployment rates are reported at 9%, however, underemployment is rampant with over 60% of the work force laboring in the informal sector, where they receive minimal pay and no social benefits. Education in the country is also deficient, with roughly 43% of those enrolled in primary school making it to the 6th grade according to UNICEF. Of the students who manage to finish primary school (6th grade), only a third will graduate from high school. In the rural areas, that number drops significantly. In many rural communities, less than ten percent of young people finish high school.
Over 70% of Nicaraguans are trapped in poverty, with roughly 48% living on $1.25 a day and another 27% on $2.00 a day, crippling the ability of a typical family of four to provide even half of the basic food, hygiene products, and educational supplies necessary to subsist and provide a healthy livelihood for their children. As a result, 1 out of every 4 children in Nicaragua suffers from some form of malnutrition affecting not only their physical abilities but their learning capacity as well (in some rural areas that number is 2 out of every 4).
Under these conditions, Nicaraguans are in a constant uphill battle to subsist and live a more dignified life. At Fabretto we are dedicated unconditionally to equipping and aiding children, adolescents and families with the necessary tools to break the cycle of poverty so that they may improve their lives, their communities and their country. With your help we can accomplish this.