That each vulnerable and orphaned child would reach their God-given potential.
Rescue abandoned, abused and orphaned children.
Prevent vulnerable children from becoming abandoned.
Create opportunities for new life.
Share Christ with everyone.
The western mindset leads us to think that the word poverty means a lack of money or education. At ORPHANetwork, we believe poverty is a lack of dignity and self-esteem. Our ministry exists to come alongside the vulnerable and orphaned children in Nicaragua and tells them, “your life matters because you are a child of the Most High God.”
Ten years ago, when I came on-board this great adventure called ORPHANetwork, we set our sights on changing the future for God’s children in Nicaragua. We wanted to not only help our partners provide basic human care to these precious children, but to empower them to create new opportunities for life and raise up new generations of leaders.
Today, because of the Lord’s guidance and your help, we are accomplishing those goals and creating a lasting impact for the children and families we have the honor of serving.
Our children are leaving our partner child protection centers (orphanages) better prepared than ever for an independent life. Possessing an exceptional education, speaking English and using computers allows them to compete for and win the good starter jobs becoming available in the emerging middle-class economy of Managua. These young adults are confident in their skill sets, they are paving the way for our younger children, and they are walking with the Lord!
The ORPHANetwork Local Church Initiative (LCI) model was designed to empower churches to reach their communities for Jesus Christ using the holistic tools of nourishing food, clean water and medicines, including deworming pills and vitamins, to create platforms of health in communities of abject poverty.
Our partner LCIs work in communities where only around 21% of children complete primary school, but the children in our After School Education Program are thriving. They are improving their reading and math skills and advancing to the next grade. Finally, the teenagers and young adults are learning highly desirable skill sets and landing jobs through our job skills training programs. Jobs are the only way to truly break the cycle of poverty, and we are so pleased with the progress we continue to see in this area.
Thanks to your involvement, our Vision is being accomplished. Our strategies are working. Our staff in Nicaragua is executing our plans well to achieve the goals we have set for our ministry.
Thank you for your support which is helping us to achieve this God-honoring success.
6.3 million people
23% of children suffer from Chronic Malnutrition
48% of children complete 6th grade
15% of children work illegally
46.5% of adults are underemployed
50% increase in girls ages 10-14 having babies since 2005
Despite these daunting statistics, Nicaragua is a country of great hope and potential which led ORPHANetwork to put a large stake in the ground more than 17 years ago. Our ministry has been working through the local church to break cycles of poverty for vulnerable and orphaned children because we believe by investing in the children of Nicaragua, a different future is available. By working through the local church, we earn the right to Share Christ because at the end of the day, a relationship with Him is what matters most.
Child Protection Centers & Transition Program
Rescued Children in Child Protection Centers
Graduation Success Rate Six Consecutive Years
Hours of Volunteer Service by Transition Students
on the Wall
- Christ Follower
- Speak Conversational English
- Computer Literate
- Life Skills and Education
- Good Starter Job
- Active Part of a Local Church
- Give Back to Others
We partner with six child protection centers (orphanage homes) across Nicaragua, serving 360 rescued children. The majority of these boys and girls have survived a myriad of trauma in their young lives; situations of abuse, exploitation, abandonment or no adults willing to care for them. As a result, the Nicaraguan government intervenes to find safe harbors for these children.
Our partner child protection centers provide safety and love that over time helps these forgotten children learn and understand that first and foremost, they matter to God. Next, these boys and girls are introduced to our Seven Targets on the Wall and begin working towards each goal so they can reach their God-given potential.
As these children turn 18 or graduate from high school or vocational school, they join our Transition Program to continue their pursuit of the Seven Targets as they either look for a good starter job, or further their education to break the cycle of poverty. Invaluable support is offered to them through monthly meetings that focus on strategic topics such as life skills, resume writing and spiritual development. Our Transition Students are also exposed to unique opportunities to engage with United States professionals visiting the country on SMART Missions ® trips.
Additionally, students in the Transition Program are influenced by the organizational culture of ORPHANetwork and our commitment to God and the people of Nicaragua. In 2017, 63 students volunteered more than 8,880 hours of service to younger children served by our ministry.
Children are born with an innate desire to learn. Tragically poverty can extinguish that desire sometimes before the sparks can ignite the flames. Maynor, born to a young mother who was not capable of caring for him and a father who took no responsibility for the life he had created, was fortunate to grow up in the care of his grandparents. From an early age, he strived to learn and achieve academic success, and he continuously achieved his goals. However life would take an unexpected turn when his grandparents experienced financial hardships that forced them to leave their home in the community where Maynor was thriving.
It was his second year of high school, equivalent to the 8th grade in the United States, and Maynor set his sights on being the top student in his new school. It took great perseverance, but he reached his goal just as his grandparents made the decision to move back to the community where Maynor had grown up. Again Maynor found himself in a “starting over” situation and he could see his dreams of finishing school and becoming a professional falling out of reach.
He worked over vacation and saved money so he could afford to travel back and forth to finish high school. This is when he found help from a former ORPHANetwork
partner child protection center. They were assisting Maynor with room and board while he finished his senior year, but three short months after he arrived, the government closed the center and placed the children at other locations. Maynor came to our partners at Brazos de Amor, Arms of Love, tearfully uttering the words, “I just want to study.”
Thanks to the support of Brazos de Amor, Maynor is pursuing his dreams of becoming a sports journalist. He plans to graduate from college in 2019 and he completed his English certification in 2017. He spoke these words of gratitude for the help he has received, “I am grateful to ORPHANetwork and Brazos de Amor for the unconditional support during these three years of study.”
“Options, there are a lot, surrender is not one of them.
What once was a dream, an opportunity and a goal, today
is a reality.“
– Maynor Aragón
Local Church Initiative Program and Results
Low Birth Weights Decreased
Anemia in Women of Childbearing Age Decreased
Chronic Malnourishment Decreased
ORPHANetwork’s model to break the cycle of poverty is implemented through three platforms:
When the most basic human needs are not met, the youngest, most vulnerable often pay the greatest price. Children living in poverty suffer from hunger resulting in lifelong damage from malnutrition. Working for survival takes priority over completing even a sixth grade education and families are riddled with abuse and addictions making life dark and change seemingly hopeless. Nicaragua has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Latin America meaning all too often babies are born to single girls, perpetuating the cycle of poverty.
More than 200 Local Church Initiative (LCI) partners across Nicaragua are improving the quality of life for 20,000 vulnerable children living in garbage dumps, refugee camps and communities of abject poverty. LCIs are empowered to reach communities for Christ through holistic tools that fight malnutrition, develop minds equipped for learning and set children on a path to gain employable job skills. The local church is creating Hope and a Future for these forgotten children.
Impact – Establishing a Platform of Health
From conception to age two, the first 1,000 days of a child’s life are the most crucial time for development. The Club for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers meets bi-weekly at each LCI to open women’s eyes to the debilitating impact chronic malnutrition can have on their precious children’s lives. Our community nurses build relationships as they dispel harmful generational myths and reach moms with the important messages of prenatal care, self-care and proper nourishment and hygiene practices for their babies. The meetings also provide opportunities to discuss situations of abuse and how to safely address them, the women develop strong bonds with each other they would not have had without “the club.” In response to the alarmingly high teenage pregnancy rate in-country, teenagers are invited to participate as well, so they can learn and understand the immense responsibilities of becoming a mother.
Local Church Initiative Results – Health
Impact – Conquering Chronic Malnutrition
We provide nourishing 850-calorie meals, biannual deworming pills (to kill parasites that steal nutrients) as well as routine acute and preventative medical care. These holistic tools work together to create healthy bodies for developing children and provide great hope to struggling families. From 2016 to 2017, we reduced chronic malnourishment (stunting) by 14%.
In April of 2017, a new LCI opened in the community of El Astillero in Rivas, Nicaragua. When five-year-old Lismari first started coming to the program, she weighed only 43 pounds and was very weak. She rarely ate proteins and her meager diet consisted of junk food or just beans or just rice. Her home environment was unsanitary, compounding the effects that even the slightest cold would have on her already weakened immune system. Over the course of nine months, the nourishing, vitamin-packed meals combined with the overall support of her health and well-being provided by the LCI, Lismari gained 13 healthy pounds! She finished preschool in November of 2017 and she is very excited as well as physically equipped to start primary school in early 2018!
“I want the best for Lismari. Our program has bought stability to her home and her single mother has peace of mind knowing where her daughter’s lunch will come from each day. The money she would’ve spent on food is now used to buy clothes and shoes for Lismari.”
– Pastor Carlos Narváez,
Dios es Mi Fortaleza LCI
ORPHANetwork’s model to break the cycle of poverty is implemented through
Local Church Initiative Results – Education
Children served in 10 After School Education Program Locations
Parents Engaged in Supporting Their Children Through the Program
ORPHANetwork’s model to break the cycle of poverty is implemented through improving education.
Impact – Improving Education
In Nicaragua, less than 48% of children complete a sixth grade education and in the communities our LCIs serve, children’s odds of finishing sixth grade drop to a mere 21%. Studies indicate that a lack of education propels children towards child labor, trafficking, illiteracy, and a severely limited lifetime earning potential; ORPHANetwork’s LCI After School Education Program (ASEP) is changing these outcomes.
This innovative program provides our children with the skills and strategies needed to learn and advance in the public school system, strengthening their ability to break cycles of poverty. In 2017, the ASEP served ten communities, impacting 500 children and their parents with educational resources and support that is not available through the public schools.
Before the After School Education Program came to her church, Daniela struggled with all of her classes, and especially math. She was losing heart in her desire to go to school. All of that changed last year when she enrolled in the program and received the individualized attention she needed to reinforce her lessons from public school. Daniela saw a huge improvement in all of her grades including math, and she was promoted to sixth grade. She’s so happy with her results that she invites her classmates to join her, “I tell all of the kids at school they should come to the program so they can have good grades too.”
Local Church Initiative Results – Jobs
Impact – Job Skills Training
The economy is growing rapidly in Nicaragua and we are equipping young adults to compete for and win the in-demand job markets in welding, construction, garment manufacturing and tourism. Our vocational job training programs create an opportunity to land jobs that provide steady income, improve the quality of life for an entire family and break the cycle of poverty once and for all.
ORPHANetwork’s model to break the cycle of poverty is implemented through job skills training.
Maria completed our three month sewing course and was hired on the spot. At Christmas she chose to use her year-end bonus to bless six elderly people in her community of Nueva Vida. English so others can have the same opportunity.
David began working full-time as a skilled welder in January of 2017. He recently encouraged the following graduating class of welders with his story of perseverance and hard-work that has provided new opportunities for his family’s future.
The Willow Creek Association
Global Leadership Summits in Six Cities
Attendees from Outside Business and Non-Profit Organizations such as McDonald’s and World Vision
“The GLS has been such a success with us here. Bill Hybels reminds us, you have to always get better, don’t forget God’s values and don’t forget what God has given you. The trainings have been such great help to our ministries.”
– Pastor Guillermo Zuniga Ugarte
León de Juda, Nueva Vida
For nine years we have partnered with the Willow Creek Association to bring the unparalleled leadership training and business insight of the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) to our partners in Nicaragua. In 2017, The Willow Creek Association asked ORPHANetwork to execute The Summit on their behalf because of our
excellent history and our positioning in the country.
Rather than having one country event and asking our partners to make a costly trip, we increase the impact by bringing the GLS to them. Last year our Nicaraguan staff reached 1,261 leaders through six GLS events serving our partners in Rivas, León, Matagalpa, Puerto Cabezas, Bluefields and Managua.
Our Managua event alone had 438 people in attendance and attracted 20 executives from various businesses and more than 80 employees of non-profit organizations such as World Vision and Opportunity International.
U.S. Church Partners
Quarterly Training Workshops
Local Church Partners
At our core, we believe that Nicaraguans must solve the problems of Nicaragua, Leadership and Relationship Development of our Nicaraguan partners is one of our key initiatives to bring children to Christ and break cycles of poverty.
We strategically partner with United States churches to bring fresh perspectives to our quarterly trainings. For example, our largest church partner, Eagle Brook Church (MN), directly impacted more than 60 Local Church Initiative pastors by sending one of their top leaders to facilitate a training session in 2017. Dale Peterson, Executive Director of the Eagle Brook Association, discussed topics that are crucial for our partners to understand and embrace in order to bring results for our children. This discussion centered around best practices for seeking qualities and competencies of staff and volunteers, as well as creating healthy working environments in churches.
- Leadership Development
- Program Execution
- Spiritual Advancement
- Future Program Enhancements
Dale’s teaching highly impacted and challenged each of our partners to make sure they are bringing, developing and delegating work to others. His discussion on the nine qualities of a great leader provided a useful tool for bringing on new people and developing current staff.
– Eddy Morales, Country Director
Nicaragua Leadership Team
Our team of local Nicaraguan professionals are strategically tackling the problems of their country head-on. From doctors to nurses to educators, our team of initiative leaders are developing staff, church pastors, child protection center leaders and students to change outcomes for the 20,000 children we serve. Pictured Left to right:
Program Director, SMART Missons®
Leads 40 vision and investor serving trips annually, totaling 300 people
Program Director, Child Protection Centers
Leads six partnerships
Impacting 360 children
Dr. Janice Hebbert
Medical Director, Health and Nutrition
Leads staff of 10 impacting 6,000 children and 1,000 moms
Leads staff of 39 serving 200 local partnerships impacting 20,000 children
Program Director, After School Education
Leads staff of 17 impacting 500 children
Leads staff of 2 who perform financial audits on 200 local partners
Dr. Donald Weil
Program Director, Local Church Initiatives
Leads 220 pastors, impacting 20,000 children
Program Director, Transition and
Job Skills Training
Leads 63 Transition Students and 100 Job Skills Training Students
Board of Directors
ORPHANetwork is led by a collection of experienced professionals who contribute incredible leadership and invaluable insight that are crucial to changing lives in Nicaragua. By offering their guidance, wisdom, and commitment to our work, they are ensuring the best possible outcomes for our children.
Pictured Left to right: Tedde Reid (2016) Idaho, Ted Wille, Chairman (2004) Florida, David Lucht (2015) North Carolina,
Michael Freeborn (2010) Illinois, Dr. Windy Mason-Leslie (2011) Virginia.
ORPHANetwork investors consist of individuals, families, businesses, churches and Gift-in-Kind partners who deeply desire to make an earthly and eternal impact in a child’s life in Nicaragua.
We invite our investors to get personally engaged with serving our Nicaraguan partners and our children through high impact investor serving trips or SMART Missions ® trips. These trips allow our investors to clearly see and experience the immeasurable return on investment their contributions bring to our work in Nicaragua.