El Canyon Orphanage, Managua, Nicaragua

Description of Project

The original farming project at the Casa Bernabe Orphanage in Managua, Nicaragua, began in January, 2003. In the past three years, Frontier Horizon has received funding from The Weyerhaeuser Foundation, The Living Stones Foundation, The International Foundation, The Stewardship Foundation, and several individual donors. To date, Frontier Horizon has raised over $60,000 for the project. The progress on the farming project is truly amazing: The greenhouse is growing organic tomatoes, cucumbers and squash for international sale, and the entire farm is continually expanding its produce to include tomatoes, plantains, papayas and pitaya (for juice), grapes, pineapples, and avocados.

The El Canyon Orphanage Self-Sufficiency Farming Project Proposal is a modified version of the original Casa Bernabe Farming Project as created by Dr. Vincent Rosini and Mr. Shane McCarthy from CLUSA (Cooperative League of the USA) and the international branch of the NCBA (National Cooperative of Business Associates). CLUSA has worked with this project from its onset. The goal of CLUSA is to increase the net income of farmers in developing countries.

Need for the project

The Puente de Amistad (Bridge of Friendship) Orphanage is located in an extremely poor section of El Canyon, Nicaragua, outside of the city of Managua. Puente de Amistad has been in existence for approximately 10 years; and, over the years, the orphanage has become known as the “El Canyon Orphanage.” The orphanage houses an average of 55 children who range in age from several months old to 17 years, and the orphanage has 15 staff members. There is generally an even mix of girls and boys at El Canyon Orphanage, and the elementary school children walk to a local school in the community and the high school students travel approximately 10 miles to El Crucero High School. As is common in many Nicaraguan orphanages, the orphanage has a mix of true orphans, who do not have any family, and “economic orphans,” who are children that live in the orphanage because their parents do not have the money to support them.

The children receive the most basic and common food, rice and beans, and they live in extremely poor conditions. Their diet lacks essential nutrients, and the orphanage staff is constantly looking for donors to meet some of the basic food, clothing, and medical needs of the children. The goal of the El Canyon Farming Project is to expand the presently successful integrated organic farm and vocational center at the Casa Bernabe Orphanage. Frontier Horizon strives to create a similar model on a piece of land near the El Canyon Orphanage. Currently, Frontier Horizon is seeking the initial funding for this project at the El Canyon Orphanage. The project goals are similar to the original project at the Casa Bernabe Orphanage. The long term goals are to continue replicating this model at other orphanages throughout Nicaragua.

Project goals

Through the Self-Sufficiency, Organic Farming Project at the El Canyon Orphanage, Frontier Horizon seeks to:

  • Establish a self-sustaining, integrated, organic model farm that can be used to promote organic agriculture in the area, and provide a training site for the concepts and practices for other organizations or projects;
  • Provide community neighbors with fair work;
  • Provide vocational training and business experience for the older youth at El Canyon and the neighboring community;
  • Provide Nicaraguan consumers with affordable, chemical free products;
  • Make the El Canyon Orphanage more financially independent by generating predictable annual income;
    Provide a healthy, diverse diet for the children and staff at El Canyon.