I want to live a life without fear!

Living with a disability in Nicaragua

"For me there is no day without fear, no bus ride when I'm not afraid - afraid of the moment when my boy has another seizure." Each one of these seizures destroys a little bit of Carlito's brain. That is what frightens his mother Johana Baltodano the most: that day by day her 14-year-old son loses the ability to recognize his mother. She worries that soon she will only be a stranger to him. And somehow he is still so little. The doctor has prescribed him some pills to suppress these life-threatening seizures, but Johana has not even dared to go near the pharmacy. She would never be able to pay for them.

Carlito was born healthy. Then, at eight months old, he had a sever seizure. But the hospital was too far away to treat him quickly. The result of the delayed treatment: cerebral palsy - a lifelong disability.


What happened to young Carlito is not uncommon in Nicaragua: about 10.3% of the population is affected by a disability (ENDIS, 2003). By comparison: it is 9.4% in Germany (Statistisches Bundesamt, 2014). The origin of this high rate of disabilities can be linked to poverty, because poverty creates circumstances that favor disabilities, be it malnutrition, lack of clean drinking water, lack of infrastructure or insufficient health care (WHO, 2011), as in Carlito's case. According to Nicaraguan surveys, the most prevalent cause of a disability is the extreme poverty that many people with disabilities live in. Buying the necessary medicines becomes impossible (ENDIS, 2003). Religious or cultural reasons for insufficient care for people with a disability also have to be taken into account in some cases: such as the belief that the child's disability is God's will, and then being quick to give up if treatment does not have an immediate effect. And God's punishment also comes with a great deal of public shame, and so there is the tendency to keep a child with a disability hidden away (ENDIS, 2003).

The good deed

Providing medicines to around 23 children with a disability first and foremost gives them a better quality of life and/or extends their life expectancy. In cases of emergency, life-saving surgery can be provided, which would otherwise surely be impossible. This helps some children to live an independent life, because they are less affected by their condition, while it can give others pain relief. Improving the health of their children also unburdens the parents and makes their live a little easier.


A particular challenge is the number and the individuality of these children. As very few people in Nicaragua have health insurance, the Pipitos Center is host to a large number of children with a wide variety of disabilities and needs that urgently require medicines. Furthermore, the state-run health centers are overwhelmed and poorly equipped, making it impossible for them to address the needs of people with a disability. That is why the medication project is coordinated among volunteer doctors, the psychotherapist and the psychologist at the Pipitos Center. In consultation with the parents, they try to find the medical treatment that is best for their child.

Countable output

After around 7 months


After around 3 years

Systemic effect

After around 7 years

Medical treatment for children with a disability in San Rafael del Sur, Nicaragua.
Providing funds for important medicines and life-saving surgery for children with a disability.
Number of children with a disability who were able to take their medicines, and the number of paid-for surgeries.
Improved overall health of the children, faster progress in physiotherapy, being able to attend school despite the disability.
Better health during the children's growth period for a healthy and independent life as an adult.


Los Pipitos Capitulo San Rafael del Sur - Nicaragua / Verein zur Förderung der Städtepartnerschaft Kreuzberg - San Rafael del Sur e.V.
Association register
VR 8324
Certified by
DZI Seal-of-Approval
Do you have further questions about the project? Please contact our 24GoodDeeds contact person Julia Kammerloher julia.kammerloher@gmx.de or ask your question on our facebook page: www.facebook.com/24guteTaten
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