Where We Work
Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America but is the least densely populated, with a population of about 5 million people. Nicaragua borders on Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. To the east is the Caribbean Sea and to the west is the Pacific Ocean.
Nicaragua is mountainous in the north central area, with lush valleys. It has two large lakes, Lake Nicaragua (Cocibolca) and Lake Managua (Xolotlán); Lake Nicaragua is the largest fresh water lake in Central America and is full of salt water life. The Pacific coast is volcanic and very lush. The Caribbean coast is called the “Mosquito Coast,” and is populated by indigineous peoples. Wherever you go in this nation, you will find pristine beaches, breathtaking views, wide open skies, and people willing to give you their last drop of water.
Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere, yet one of the richest in natural resources and in friendly warmth. 48% of that population – about 2.5 million people – lives on less than U$2 a day. Nicaragua has an unemployment rate of 3.8%, with underemployment at 46.5%! 76% percent of adults in Nicaragua are illiterate. In 2006, less than half (40%) of children who began school in the first grade completed sixth grade.
San Juan del Sur was officially founded in 1852, largely due to the influx of foreign travelers on their way to California during the Gold Rush. Although first considered a fishing village, and later, a port, San Juan has stayed true to its roots as a stopping place for tourists and travelers. Today, San Juan’s economy relies chiefly on tourism and foreign investment, although much of the population has retained their generations-old vocations of fishermen.
Although San Juan del Sur has seen a rise in economic development in recent years, there remain many gaps in funding for education. Many schools struggle with insufficient supplies, many teachers struggle to engage hungry students, and many students wallow through outdated and unchallenging texts every day. The task is not easy, but by focusing our own efforts in coordination with our community partners, we have the best chance of making a difference in the community, one student, one teacher, and one school at a time.
Education and underemployment are areas where Fundación A. Jean Brugger is dedicating long-term attention. In partnership with Pelican Eyes Hotel & Resort, over 600 jobs have been created in San Juan del Sur since 2000. Attendance in rural and urban schools of the area has increased, with more children able to go to school because they now possess the required materials – uniform, shoes, backpacks and notebooks. Please see our Programs page to learn more about our work in San Juan del Sur.
For more information about Nicaragua, please visit the following websites: