The History of HCN
El Ayudante first started in Nicaragua in 2001, with the mission of being a child protection center for the children of León. For nearly seven years, El Ayudante operated as a residential child protection center, providing a safe haven for 31 children sent by the Ministry of Family (Nicaraguan equivalent of Department of Human Services). In 2008 the Nicaraguan Government initiated Programa Amor (Project Love) and closed almost all of the child protection centers in Nicaragua with the idea of reuniting children with their families. While the program seemed to have a wonderful purpose, the program lacked appropriate funding and was simply a hope to gain international recognition. Children were sent back into dangerous and unhealthy situations.
The changes that were brought forth with Programa Amor caused El Ayudante to adapt from a child protection center to a family enrichment center. Our Hogar Cristiano Nicaraguense (Nicaraguan Christian Home, HCN) simply adapted and our children were put into the most stable and safe situations possible. Some went back to their families as before, but with financial support and basic needs met. Others went to a family member that could care for them in a safe environment. A few children who did not have a safe place to go continued to call our campus their home. With this change, the children were still provided with food, education, medical care, discipleship and love; they simply left at the end of the day and went home to their families.
Currently we have 36 children, teenagers and young adults involved in our program.
In an effort to maximize the unique attention and needs of varying age groups, the HCN has a rotating schedule. The high school students are on campus in the morning and attend school in the afternoon, and the elementary students have the reverse schedule. While at the HCN the children receive two meals and a snack, tutoring, Bible studies, individual and family counseling, and medical care.
Adapting to a family enrichment center has been a long journey, but didn’t change our mission of partnering with the Nicaraguan people to transform the nation – one child, one family, one community at a time.