Nicaragua

Empowered youth help make the streets safer

José

Two years ago, if José saw a girl on the street he would whistle and yell taunts. “That would make me feel macho”. He and his friends used to see his neighborhood as his territory and no adolescent or young person could enter without getting in to “trouble”, but now his vision is pretty different. “I interact with other adolescents to make them see that violence is useless”.

In 2013, we met three children living in one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in Managua to film their story. José, 19, Byron, 22, and Dayana, 17, live in Las Torres, a community troubled by violence and fights over territory between neighbourhood gangs. Poverty and scant education and job opportunities have caused youth to see gangs as the answer. 

Your generosity is helping youth make the streets safer.

CCFC donors support a violence and crime prevention program called United Youth Thinking and Taking Action (JUPAC). Since 2011, the youth group has given more than 50 children, ages 13 to 23, an opportunity to organize community events, including fairs, sports leagues and educational sessions on topics such as child rights. More than 2,000 children living in Las Torres and Hilario Sánchez have enjoyed a safe place to learn, play and gain life skills.

“[Since joining JUPAC at age 18] my life has changed completely,” says Byron. “I was very shy and quiet. I had trouble making friends. I started to participate, to share my opinions, and to be a leader. It awoke in me a desire to support my community and make it better.”

“Now, I know my rights and how to demand them,” shares Dayana, a member of JUPAC since 2012. “I am a more expressive teenager. I have more tools to make daily decisions. My friends look to me for advice, and that makes me feel important.”

And José is an active member in JUPAC. He inspires children in the community by sharing his own story and pursuing a career in graphic design. 

 

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