The Need

We're a primarily Nicaraguan organization, and we are proud of our beautiful country, which nonetheless faces deep-rooted challenges. Nicaragua is the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere after Haiti[1], and ranked 129th of 187 nations on the 2011 Human Development Index[2]. 15.8% of Nicaraguans live on $1.25/day or less[3]; 28%, or 1.5 million, are "multidimensionally poor," a weighted measure of the intensity of deprivation[4]; 46% live below the national poverty line[4]; 65% of those who are working are employed in the informal sector[5]. In recent decades, Nicaragua has experienced war, natural disaster, economic exploitation and indebtedness, political turmoil and governmental corruption[see 6, for example], all contributing to impoverishment. A third of the population lives in the capital city Managua[7], including many internally displaced people living in recently settled areas with minimal services and infrastructure, like Barrio Camilo Ortega/William Galeano. People in such areas face enormous barriers to education, health and economic wellbeing.

The Approach

ATRAVES is simultaneously a local grassroots organization and an international nonprofit, a small global Asociacion with big dreams for our home community. The ATRAVES network is made up of people with different life experiences and perspectives, who share the value of solidaridad in action. For us, solidarity in action means that our role is to join with communities and foster their leadership in confronting challenges and economic injustices, while also working to create the conditions that allow for change. Some of us find particular resonance with the quote attributed to Lila Watson, "If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together."

We see education, health and community economic development as linked together: working for one requires working for the others. Our programming focuses on these three areas in San Juan de Oriente, Masaya. We connect our programs with one another in a holistic, empowering approach firmly grounded in local leadership. Our volunteer program amplifies and enriches these efforts, and builds our growing family of Voluntarios En Solidaridad. Learn more about our programs and their accomplishments here, and please support our work across borders.


  1. US Dept. of State
  2. UN Development Programme
  3. UN Development Programme
  4. US Dept. of State
  5. US Dept. of State
  6. Wikipedia
  7. Wikipedia