Our Impact on Nagarote
- Partnership: Unbroken collaboration with one community since 1986
- Commitment: Many original Norwalk board members and Nagarote directiva are still actively involved
- Community Development: Built a community center, developed a model farm, created a municipal library
- Focus: Our greatest impact has been on the children of Nagarote:
- Youth Programs: After-school instruction in English, theater, art and martial arts, computers and sewing for more 180 middle and high school students each year
- Pre-school: Age appropriate development for 60 of the poorest children to give them a strong foundation for their future education
- Tutoring Elementary School Students: Our college scholarship students tutor and mentor 100 elementary school students identified by the Ministry of Education as at risk of failure
- Scholarships: Funding for books, school supplies, shoes and uniforms, plus tutoring enabling for 60 students plus 14 college students each year get an education, from grade school through the university
- Resources: Partnerships with other organizations serving Nicaragua, from visiting dental clinics to micro-loans to businesses
- Model Sustainable Farm: Teaching project youth and area farmers sustainable agricultural practices while providing our students with the nourishing fresh fruits and vegetables often missing from their diets
In March 1986, a group of people gathered together at a Norwalk church to form a sister-city connection between Norwalk, Connecticut, and Nagarote, Nicaragua. They believed that through people-to-people contact and exchange, U.S. citizens could get to know Nicaraguans, transcending the violence, politics, and propaganda, which often characterized "official" relations between the two governments.
In 2015, Norwalk and Nagarote joined Sister Cities International. Norwalk is one of only six Connecticut cities to be paired with cities in other countries. The Memorandum of Understanding linking the two cities was signed by Norwalk’s Mayor Harry Rilling and Nagarote’s Mayor Mireya Candelaria Urroz Gutiérrez.
In 2011, we built a community center in central Nagarote. It houses our computer and sewing classes, meeting room, a small library, our staff offices and a large outdoor covered area for performances and meetings. The building and the program are known as Norwalk and any taxi or bixie (bike taxi) driver can take you there. Our girls’ club, Norwalk Ladies, build a small playground on the property. It is one of the nicest buildings in Nagarote and there is plenty of room for growth.
Nagarote, a small city of 36,000 people, is midway between Managua and Leon and stretches from the Pacific coast to the shores of Lake Managua. Nagarote has one poorly equipped health clinic, a library, 9 churches, and 47 schools. Unemployment and underemployment are in the high double digits. As in most of Nicaragua – the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere after Haiti – most people live on less than $2 a day.
Visiting Nagarote & Norwalk
At least once a year we have a delegation or group trip to Nagarote to visit our Project, meet with the kids and staff and take the kids on an outing. It’s our reward to the board for a job well done (although they pay their own expenses) and a treat for friends who want to learn more about the Project.
Delegates range in age from 13 to 91 so far and come from far and wide. The trip is usually in March and is less than a week. We stay in the Hotel Jerusalem which is basic, clean and offers private baths but no hot water – not a problem in this climate. The price is right though at $45 a night with air conditioning which is recommended.
The highlight of the trip is always the outing with the kids. Whether we go to a beach, a nature reserve, a pool or a volcano, they enjoy themselves and are great company. Anyone interested in joining a delegation should contact Bill McCarthy at or send us an email from the Contact Us page.
Travelling in the opposite direction, our Nagarote Field Director visits Norwalk each year to report to the board and membership at our annual meeting and Fiesta in May. The two former Mayors of Nagarote have visited Norwalk as has the Director of the Nagarote Ministry of Education among others. Several years ago we also hosted two teachers who were being trained in Montessori methods. We do not encourage the children in our project to aspire to come to the US as their talents and skills are needed in Nagarote.