Matagalpa is the capital city of the Matagalpa Department. It’s located in west central Nicaragua and has a population of 111,258. The city is the leading commercial and manufacturing centre of the region. A considerable portion of Nicaragua’s coffee is produced in the surrounding region.
Many children in Matagalpa have to fend for themselves on the streets, where they are exposed to the dangers of drugs and violence. Living on the streets means they have no access to health care or education.
Since 2001, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Matagalpa.
Around 30% of people in Nicaragua live in poverty. Many children have to fend for themselves on the streets. Some children as young as five are already living on the streets.
Other children live at home but spend their days selling goods or services on the streets to support their families financially.
Girls and boys are also forced into child labor or exploited as sex workers, which often leaves them exposed to exploitation, abuse and violence.
Around 12% of children between the ages of 10 and 14 are forced to work.
Nicaragua produces some of the best coffee in the world, most of it in the region around Matagalpa.
However, the coffee industry is known to employ children illegally, making them work long hours in difficult and dangerous conditions. Children receive little or no pay. For some families, their children are their only source of income. Therefore, parents make the difficult decision not to send their children to school so that they can contribute to the family income.