Chiquilistagua, Managua

According to the Human Development Index, Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Nica Nadadores serves Chiquilistagua, a community in southwest Managua about thirty minutes from the city’s center. Children in Chiquilistagua often suffer from improper nourishment, insufficient water sources, and poor access to basic infrastructure. A community survey of over 200 community members indicated that 93% of residents cannot swim in water deeper than their heads.

The majority of our student-athletes come from the Barrio Solano neighborhood, a community not reflective of the urban poverty typically seen in the United States. To a casual observer, it is difficult to spot houses from the main road that runs through the neighborhood—instead, the area is populated by people living in crowded series of rural, dirt-floor huts nestled under the shade of large trees. Commonly known as squatting, few people actually own the land they inhabit. Houses typically sit on open plots of land, adding an aspect of uncertainty to residents' futures. Most of our swimmers share their homes with cousins, uncles, aunts, and even the livestock that they rely on for survival.

Nicaraguans are very proud people and its youth are invested in improving the future of their community and their country. However, there is a real lack of access to roads, healthcare, and material goods. In this environment, sports and recreation are essential to maintaining a healthy childhood. Nica Nadadores provides a place where young people are encouraged to become better students, leaders, family members, and swimmers—a unique opportunity for youth in Managua.

The Nica Nadadores Movement

Nica Nadadrores places a great deal of importance on our position of influence in the community of Chiquilistagua. Behind every individual that enrolls in our program is a promise not just to that swimmer, but also to the community we serve. Nica Nadadores promises to prepare the next generation of youth with the knowledge and skills to become effective leaders. We promise to hold our participants to high expectations both athletically and academically. We are committed to teaching our swimmers to consciously set goals both in and out of the pool. The promise we make to our swimmers, their families, and the entire community has resulted in appreciation and embrace from the local residents of Chiquilistagua.

We rely heavily on family and parental involvement so our community recognizes the Nica Nadadores difference. In fact, 85% of our swimmers have family members that are also enrolled in the Nica Nadadores program. Whether it be a brother, sister, or cousin, Nica Nadadores is an interest that the whole family deems worthy. It would be detrimental to our mission of empowering young leaders if the Nica Nadadores impact was empty in our participants’ homes. A large population of our swimmers parents are illiterate, yet fully understand the value of a quality education. We are proud to devote resources and energy to collaborating with parents who look to encourage their children to excel within the Nica Nadadores framework.

Collaboration has been key to establishing the Nica Nadadores foundation. We operate in partnership with local schools, NGO’s, church missions, and for-profit businesses. In 2016, for the first time Nica Nadadores secured financial support from Managua-based businesses, hosted local fundraising initiatives, and worked with Nicaraguan volunteers. We have successfully demonstrated to our student-athletes that there are local leaders and mentors who sincerely believe in the Nica Nadadores purpose. Using sport to teach life skills is no breakthrough in philanthropy. The momentum surrounding Nica Nadadores however, has fired up an entire community hungry for a better quality of life.

From every athlete in our program, resident of Chiquilistagua, local supporter, and Nica Nadadores staff – the Nica Nadadores movement has arrived.