Sewing classes for youth

Funding required: $46,600

Beneficiaries: 30 youth from two Compassion centres

Completion date: June 2023

Country: Nicaragua

Executive summary

Youth unemployment is a growing crisis in Nicaragua. Even before the pandemic, the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUNIDES) reported that fewer than 10 per cent of youth across the country will go to university. The majority of those who enter the workforce only have a high school education or less, limiting them to low-paying jobs, where they could experience exploitation. While most children in Nicaragua dream of becoming professionals and helping their families overcome poverty, many will end up dropping out of school to help pay the bills however they can. Without assistance, many of the youth Compassion is serving in Nicaragua have little chance of getting decent jobs and breaking free from poverty.

Compassion has been working with churches in Nicaragua for more than 19 years. Currently, close to a third of all Compassion-assisted beneficiaries in Nicaragua are older than age 12. As they approach graduation from the sponsorship program, it is imperative that all students learn a skill that can help them earn income in the future. The worsening economic situation in Nicaragua has made this a key initiative for our frontline church partners. Working in partnership with churches across the country, Compassion Nicaragua has set the goal of equipping every beneficiary with at least one vocational skill before they graduate from the sponsorship program. Many vocational training initiatives have already been successfully carried out all across the country, including courses in computer skills, bakery, farming, carpentry and more. Learning a trade allows young people to develop skills that can generate income in the future, either through employment or by creating their own small businesses.

Two local church partners located in the city of León want to prepare their youth-age beneficiaries for future employment through training in sewing. By offering a 10-month sewing course, as well as valuable entrepreneurship training, these two churches hope to equip 30 promising students with the knowledge and skills they will need to become economically self-sustaining and break the cycle of poverty.

Did you know?

According to Nicaragua’s National Development Information Institute, the unemployment rate in Nicaragua is as high as 46.3 per cent. Sadly, 36.9 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line.



Many of the youth Compassion serves in Nicaragua are facing a bleak future due to a worsening unemployment crisis. While they dream of getting good jobs and overcoming poverty, limited educational opportunities and the pressing needs of their families lead to many early dropouts. In a highly competitive market, even the few who do complete higher education can find it difficult to get jobs. There is a pressing need to train youth-age beneficiaries in practical vocational skills, so they can gain employment or start their own businesses in the future. Compassion Nicaragua has set the goal of offering beneficiaries at least one vocational skill before they graduate from Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Program so they will be competitive in the labour market and become financially self-sufficient.

The need

Limited job opportunities and a worsening economic crisis have made it critical for Compassion’s youth beneficiaries across Nicaragua to learn an income-generating skill. Very few students in Nicaragua complete a high school education, and many will end up in low-paying jobs where they are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Compassion Nicaragua is responding to this crisis by setting the goal of equipping every beneficiary with at least one vocational skill before they complete the sponsorship program.

This initiative will help 30 beneficiaries from two Compassion centres in León, Nicaragua. Students will attend a professional sewing academy, followed by entrepreneurship training during which they will learn how to make a business plan, set and maintain a budget and successfully market a business. Training will finish with a sewing fair, where students will have the chance to show their work and demonstrate their new skills. At the end of the course, churches will select four of the most outstanding students to be awarded with their own sewing machines.

What your gift will do

Your support will provide sewing and entrepreneurial classes for 30 young people for 12 months:

  • Sewing equipment and materials
    • 30 pedal sewing machines, 6 stitch sewing machines, 4 sealing sewing machines
    • Tables, rulers, scissors, fabric, buttons, needles, threads, thimbles, irons, closet
    • Machine maintenance
  • Instructor fees, including national insurance (INSS), income tax (IR) and compensation
  • Entrepreneurship training for 1 month
    • Materials
    • Instructor fees
  • Sewing fair
    • Materials
    • Facility rental, tables, chairs, sound system
    • Snacks and transportation
  • Graduation ceremony
    • Snacks
    • Certificates
    • Four sewing machines to be awarded to outstanding students
  • Monitoring and evaluation
    • o Transportation and food
    • o Fees for follow-up personnel


  • Local contribution: US$6,305.03; the church will also provide their facilities for the sewing classes.
  • Handling of funds: Compassion Nicaragua will ensure that this intervention remains within budget.
  • Follow-up: The church will report regularly with updates on this initiative. A collaborator will be hired to follow up with the students. He or she will carry out surveys and conduct focus groups to evaluate the impact of the training on the students.

No less than 80 per cent of your donation will be used for program activities and a maximum of 20 per cent for fundraising and administration. If we exceed our funding goal for the initiative shown, the remaining funds will be used to fund other programs where the need is greatest.