Empowerment through education
Female students as beacons of hope
Martha graduated with top marks - something she never dreamed possible. As a child, doctors fought for her life because Martha has a heart condition. Day after day, her mother came to the hospital and revised with her for school. After her own difficult time, Martha made the decision to help other people later on and to study to become a nurse. But for many girls growing up like Martha in rural areas of Nicaragua, dreams of the future are shattered by reality: their families live on subsistence farming and can afford neither higher education nor university studies. But thanks to a scholarship, Martha was able to realise her dream. "Since my studies, many girls from my village tell me that now they also want to attend university. From my example, they see that it is possible - no matter where you come from or how much money you have." Martha plans to improve health care in her village in the future.
Access to higher education for disadvantaged young women from rural areas of Nicaragua.
Young women receive a full scholarship and, if needed, secure housing so that they can pursue university studies.
After around 12 months
Number of hours of study for marginalised women from rural areas in Nicaragua.
After around 3 years
Disadvantaged women study at a university and can develop their expertise and skills there.
After around 7 years
More women in rural areas are working in skilled professions. They are role models and providers of knowledge to their village communities.
In Nicaragua, access to higher education is determined by the amount of money in the parents' bank accounts: In the lowest income quartile, only 80 to 90 per cent of children only attend primary school. Children from rural areas are particularly disadvantaged. The average income there is far below that in cities (Adelman & Szekely, 2016). In addition, there are fewer secondary schools and thus fewer secondary school qualifications (Ferreyra et al., 2017). As a result, young people in rural areas are less likely to start university. Those who suffer most are girls. More than 60 per cent of low-income women have only completed primary school (Worldbank, 2021). They often leave school to marry early (Adelman & Szekely, 2016), or have to contribute to the family income (Grabe et al., 2020). Teenage pregnancies are widespread: One in four rural mothers is under 20 years of age (INIDE, 2018). Moreover, one in three pregnancies is unintended and often associated with violence (Salazar & San Sebastian, 2014). In this key phase of life, which decides their future, young women are under pressure from patriarchal structures. Poverty, prevailing role expectations and a lack of self-determination keep women small. Education makes them big. This is precisely why female role models who pursue an academic education and return home as strong women are needed in the villages of Nicaragua.
The good deed
With your good deed, you enable talented young women in Nicaragua to go to university. For them, a place at university means the only chance of qualified work - and thus of a self-determined life. The scholarship holders come from families that live below the poverty line. Therefore, they receive a full scholarship that covers all living expenses and study costs. If necessary, they move into a room in the student hostel, which is also financed by the good deed. In this way, the girls can concentrate fully on their studies in a safe learning environment free from financial hardship, long journeys and conservative role expectations. The good deed also helps their village communities: by engaging in social projects, the women bring their know-how to marginalised areas. In this way, the good deed makes a central contribution to reducing the structural disadvantages of the rural population and to creating perspectives for future generations.
Number of inhabitants
Gross domestic product per capita per year
128 of 189
Human Development Index
A lack of self-determination: Nicaragua is one of the few countries in the world with a total ban on abortions - even if the life of the mother is endangered (Grabe et al., 2020).
About the organization and further information
Puente Nica e.V.
Further information and source
- Adelman, M., & Szekely, M., 2016. School dropout in Central America: An overview of trends, causes, consequences, and promising interventions, World Bank Group, Washington, D.C.
- Ferreyra, M. et al., 2017. At a crossroads: Higher education in Latin America and the Caribbean, World Bank Group, Washington, D.C.
- Grabe, S., Ramírez, D. R. & Dutt, A., 2020. Reproductive Justice: The Role of Community-Based Organizational Participation in Reproductive Decision-Making and Educational Aspirations among Women in Nicaragua, Journal of Social Issues, 76(2), S. 391-415.
- Instituto Nacional de Información de Desarrollo INIDE, 2018. Compendio de Estadísticas Vitales 2017-2018, Stand: 01.04. 2021, Managua.
- Salazar, M., & San Sebastian, M., 2014. Violence against women and unintended pregnancies in Nicaragua: A population-based multilevel study, BMC Women’s Health, 14(1), 26.
- World Bank Group, 2021. Gender Data Portal, Stand: 25.3.2021, Washington, D.C.