Most of the folks who visit this website are already familiar with Project Chacocente. In 2003, our founder Cheryl Avery, then a Methodist missionary, saw the material poverty of families living at La Chureca, the vast, smoldering city dump of Managua, Nicaragua where they raised their children and foraged for food and whatever they could sell. Inspired by visiting youth from the United States, Cheryl sold her retirement nest egg, bought farmland near Masaya, and invited ten of the families to form a community there.
With the funding support of many individuals and churches in the U.S., the “Chacocente Families” built small cinderblock homes, learned to read and write, attended classes on everything from personal hygiene and parenting to farming and conflict resolution, and built a school that eventually provided pre-K through high school instruction and hot lunches for 140-150 children. The Project employed 25 Nicaraguan teachers and staff in what came to be known locally, and appreciatively, as the “Chacocente community.”
The Nicaraguan government closed Chacocente Christian School abruptly in June 2022, allegedly because of its failure to provide the documentation that a law passed in October 2020 required of “agents of a foreign government.” Chacocente had in fact made heroic efforts to meet the government’s demands, and it should suffice here only to explain, with sadness, that as of October 2022 the Nicaraguan government had closed two thousand nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the country.
Fortunately, the Chacocente families still privately own their land and houses due to the early partnership with Project Chacocente, and the school has been reopened as a public school operated by the government.