Los Quinchos / Las Yahoskas
Holistic Rehabiliation for Street Children
At the heart of the program is the belief in the power of education to transform lives. I have said and will continue to say our children’s future is not in the stars. Our children’s future is in a backpack, filled with notebooks and pencils. It’s in a school. The future of our children is education.Carlos Vidal
Los Quinchos provides holistic support to rehabilitate street children and reintegrate them into society. The mission is to reaffirm the human rights of street children – to a secure home with food and shelter, an education, and the right to a peaceful childhood.
Founded in 1991, Los Quinchos serves more than 400 children in residential programs and street outreach programs each year, and has restored the rights of more than 5,000 children in the past 20 years.
The rehabilitation process starts with outreach to children living on the streets, most of them abused, neglected or abandoned by their parents. Many are addicted to glue-sniffing to alleviate hunger pains. At the Filter House, they begin to adjust to a healthy lifestyle where they are safe, have food and shelter. When they are ready, they go to the Los Quinchos farm, where they are able to attend school, play, learn farming so they can grow some of their own food and trades like carpentry and the weaving of traditional Nicaraguan hammocks, which they sell to help support the program. They receive care, educational support, arts programs, and psychological counseling. Many of the boys grow up to become mentors and counselors in the program.
The Grenada House of Culture is a center located in Nicaragua’s historic colonial town of Grenada. In the residential program there, they attend classes in art and dancing, as well as other activities aimed at promoting self-esteem and physical and emotional health.
Las Yahoskas is a rural residence for girls, most of whom are survivors of sexual abuse and trafficking. In a tranquil, caring environment, the girls get medical care, educational support, and psychological counseling. They have their own soccer team which competes in local federations and is an important part of establishing their sense of worth and accomplishment.
What You Can Do
Los Quinchos was started 25 years ago by an Italian woman, Zelinda Roccio, moved by the presence of so many street children wandering the streets of Managua. She raised most of the funds through her connections in Italy. Since the worldwide economic crash in 2008, sustaining donations have been down. Los Quinchos has had to scramble for funds to pay its committed staff. ProNica helps pay for the care of the former street children, pay utilities and helps maintain a library in the nearby town of San Marcos, where the children study after attending classes in the local school.