Children & Adults with Disabilities

Sustainable Agriculture

Christ in the Garbage Ministries

In 1999 Mustard Seed Communities expanded to Nicaragua to meet the needs of children with mental and physical disabilities, many of whom were abandoned. In cooperation with the local organizations, land was identified in a small neighborhood just outside of Managua and construction of a residential home began. MSC Nicaragua has since expanded to include a second home for children with disabilities in the town of Diriamba. MSC Nicaragua also assists women and families living in impoverished areas of Managua through the Christ in the Garbage Ministries program, which oversees the distribution of food packages and maintains a Resource Center for adult women to learn vocational skills and gain economic independence.


Children & Adults with Disabilities

Hogar Belen Managua is located in San Antonio Sur and began operations in the year 2000. As the first location of MSC Nicaragua, Hogar Belen Managua provides residential accommodation and care for 30 children ranging in age from six months to sixteen years. The children have disabilities which include Down syndrome, microcephaly, cerebral palsy, hydrocephaly, autism and infantile cerebral paralysis. MSC Nicaragua has an occupational therapist on staff and the children receive a number of services such as horse therapy, hydrotherapy, interaction therapy and typical school classes depending on their needs and abilities.

In 2006, Mustard Seed Communities Nicaragua purchased a plot of land in the town of Diriamba to open a second home for children with disabilities. Located an hour outside of Managua, Hogar Belen Diriamba provides two types of accommodations for our residents. Those who are able to live semi independently have a cottage-style setting while the residents who need more care and attention live in a dorm-style setting. This provides an important degree of flexibility and allows us to cater to the unique needs of the residents we serve. Mustard Seed Communities also completed the construction of a Specialized Recreation Center in Diriamba. This type of building is crucial to the development of our children. Play therapy is used to help children with disabilities to develop a sense of strength and competency. It involves intensive play, coordination and motor skill activities and adaptations. Additionally, a chapel with a capacity of 150 people is on site to serve as a place of spiritual growth for our children and the surrounding community of Diriamba.

Nicaragua_AgricultureSustainable Agriculture

As part of MSC’s vision to make each country self-sustainable, Hogar Belen Diriamba has become a site of agricultural development. The planting and animal husbandry initiatives include pigs, broiler chickens and certain regional crops. The meat and produce currently provide for in-house consumption to meet the nutritional needs of our residents in Diriamba and Managua. In addition to the nutritional benefits of on-site farming, it also provides a degree of empowerment and responsibility for the residents. They have been involved in various stages of the sustainable agriculture program from clearing land to planting vegetables.

As the farming program grows, surplus produce will eventually be sold in the domestic market for income generation. The weather conditions in Diriamba present some challenges to this initiative, though we have had success with carrots, beans, sweet potatoes and squash.  MSC Nicaragua staff is currently researching additional crops and techniques that may prove more fruitful in the Diriamba climate. Currently, some crafts and household items are sold on-site as another source of income to defray operating costs of the home.

Nicaragua_CIGMChrist in the Garbage Ministries

All over the world, entire communities exist within massive urban garbage dumps. The people who live and work there sustain themselves by selling the things that others throw away and eating any food they can find. One of these garbage dump communities, known as La Chureca, emerged in the city of Managua. La Chureca is approximately 20 miles from Hogar Belen Managua. Despite recent economic development initiatives focused on La Chureca, abject poverty persists in the area. The authorities have recently relocated the residents of La Chureca, though for years the dump represented their only sustenance. Without concerted efforts in economic development and training, the uprooted community will not have any new means to live. Christ in the Garbage Ministries (CIGM) aims to combat the grave issues of poverty and malnutrition while empowering the women of Managua to lift themselves out of destitution and provide a better life for their families.

CIGM Nicaragua distributes monthly food packages to the people from La Chureca. The packages contain rice, beans, sugar, butter and sardines in quantities sufficient to feed a family of four for three days. In addition to providing food packages, CIGM is focused on helping women learn marketable skills to offer hope for a future of economic independence. In 2006, CIGM opened a sewing center near the dump to offer women a viable way to provide for their families. After initial success and growing support, the outreach initiative evolved into the present-day Resource Center (Centro de Recursos). The center now offers more comprehensive programming including pastry-making classes, crochet training, English language lessons, mathematics classes, monthly spiritual reflection, and daycare for children while their mothers are in class.

Solving the entrenched issues of economic strife and lack of access to services in La Chureca will require years of assistance and development work. With the existence of CIGM, though, women have an option to learn a skill that gives them the ability to generate an income, and most importantly, gives them hope.

Read more about the background and structure of Christ in the Garbage Ministries.