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Las Tias Daycare Center for Children from Difficult Backgrounds

Internship and Volunteering Possible
Las Tias is a day center for children from unstable family situations. The center's main objective is to ensure that children complete their formal education. This project is particularly suitable for internships and volunteering in the fields of social work, education and vocational training.

What is your placement organisation doing?

Las Tías ("The aunts") runs two day centres in León for children and youth who are from difficult family backgrounds. The children, for instance, face domestic violence, engage a significant part of their time in child labour, or get involved in petty crimes. The centre wants to make sure that the children and youth receive a formal education to become functional and positive members of society.
Centre 1 is for children aged 6-13 years. Most of the almost 100 children work as street sales children in the Santos Barcenas market area and other public squares and streets, for instance selling vegetables, beverages, plastic bags or cigarettes. This activity makes them lose a lot of time for school - often they work at night at dangerous places where they risk getting exposed to alcoholism, prostitution or sexual abuse.
Las Tías also tries to involve the parents of these children, sensitizing them about topics such as violence against children, child labour, and child crime. There is also a microcredit program for the parents of the children which has the aim to improve the family's financial situation, making them less dependent of their children's labour.
At the centre, the children receive extra lessons, English lessons, psychosocial counseling offered by a psychologist, lunch (there is a kitchen where some of the mothers help out) and meaningful leisure activities. The centre can make use of circus/acrobatics equipment, for instance unicycles, which currently however are not in use as there is no one who can teach the children about their use. Further, there are several dresses for traditional Nicaraguan dances which have been donated, facilities for painting and handcrafts, and a sports ground. Popular sports are baseball and soccer.
It has to be pointed out that the improvement of the school results has the highest priority, and activities such as circus and dance should rather be seen as extra leisure activities that the students can only take part in if they perform well enough at school.   
Centre 2 reaches around 40 youth aged 14-18 years. Besides extra classes for school, the centre offers vocational training for carpentry, tailoring, working with leather, and beauty (hair styling and make-up). The aim is to achieve successful vocational training for the youth.
85% of the children and youth being assisted at Las Tías have managed to successfully graduate from school.
Las Tías started in an informal way in the 1980's as an initiative of 9 market women of the Santos Barcenas market. During the time of civil war and the following years, there had been many orphan children living around the market area and on the streets, facing problems such as drug abuse, crime, violence and prostitution. The women supplied the children with food, clothes and medical care. The name "Las Tías" (The aunts) actually comes from the children, who used the term to refer to the women. In 1989, the organization was legally formed. Today the focus is rather on prevention.

How can you get involved?

Volunteering and internships are possible for participants from the subject areas of social work, psychology and education; also for individuals with skills in vocational training (e.g. carpentry, tailoring, working with leather, make up/hair styling), sports, dance, singing, painting, acrobatics, handcrafts and English.
The minimum duration of stay is 2 months. If you don't have sufficient command of Spanish language, we recommend you stay for longer and at the same time, take Spanish lessons. Volunteers and interns should be serious and professional, highly motivated and capable to work under pressure with children and youth from difficult life situations. They should be aware that they act as role models and should not smoke, drink alcohol or appear under the influence of alcohol when with the children/youth; they should not have any visible tattoos and piercings.
They should be flexible about the working hours and work at least 3-4 days per week according to a work plan which will be decided upon in the beginning of their stay.
Info Box
Location: León, Nicaragua
Availability: All year, Start date flexible
Minimum Duration: 2 Months
Maximum Duration: 12 Months
Language Requirements: Average knowledge of Spanish
Room with Host Family, Shared Accommodation
Supervision Possible: Yes
Qualification Of Supervisor: Teacher, Educator
Minimum Qualification Of Intern:
Relevant studies or experience
Further Contribution To Project: None
Volunteering Possible: Yes
Required Qualification For Volunteer: Relevant skills
Further Contribution To Project: None
Professional Conduct, Do you have the "right" attitude?

Accommodation in León

In León you can choose between two standards of accommodation:
mostpopular transparent
Most popular! - The choice of the majority of our participants. In the university city of León, these are host families that rent out room.

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Comfort+ - For those who expect a higher standard: Hotel accommodation.


Host Family and Shared Accommodation:

Accommodation is with families or individuals who rent their homes of anything between two and five rooms for volunteers, interns and travelers from all over the world, as well as to Nicaraguan students. The result is a mix of family and shared life, wherein one or the other may predominate. This form of housing is characteristic of the Nicaraguan city of León, the reason being that many inhabitants of the city, especially in the city center, live in large colonial houses; but the families have become smaller and rooms are free. León is a student city, and it has long been common place that you sublet.
The rooms are usually equipped with a bed, a table and chair, as well as a storage space for clothes. In some houses, the rooms have a private bathroom and in the others, the bathroom is shared with the owners, other foreign visitors or Nicaraguan students.
You get your own key and can decide how closely or otherwise you want to live with families. Bed linen is provided and the room is cleaned weekly. It is not permitted to have overnight guests in the rooms.
For an extra charge, there is wifi internet and the kitchen can be used. You can also decide whether you want to eat with the family. Breakfast costs 2.50 USD, lunch and dinner 3.50 USD and 3 USD. Please see below, the example of the menu in Spanish.
Sample diet of host families:
These are alternatives that are selected by the family.
1. Gallo pinto, queso o maduro frito, Jugo, café con leche, leche o café.
2. Huevo con jamón, pan, Jugo, café con leche, leche o café.
3. Huevos revueltos, pan, Jugo, café con leche, leche o café.
4. Frutas de tres variedades, (sandìa, banano, melòn, papaya, dependiento de la temporada), acompañado de un jugo o café.
5. Panqueques, servidos con syrup y margarina, Jugo, café con leche, leche o café.

1. Indio Viejo. (Platillo tìpico Nicaraguense, preparado de maíz y carne desmenuzada, acompañado con plátano cocido), con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
2. Beafteak de Cerdo o Res, arroz, frijoles, tortilla, con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
3. Vigorón o Chancho con Yuca (Platillo típico Nicaraguense, preparado con carne de cerdo adobada, yuca cocida y ensalada), con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
4. Chopsue o Chow Ming (Carne de pollo desmenuzada, camarones, mortadela, carne de cerdo, verduras, churritos cantones, acompañado con pan), con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
5. Arroz relleno (arroz con carne de pollo, mortadela, zanahoria, chiltoma, cebolla, petupuas, acompañado con pan), con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).   
6. Espagueti a la bolognesa (Spaguetti cocido, acompañado con salsa ragú, bolitas de carne molina, queso rallado), con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
7. Chuleta de Pescado empanizada, arroz, tostones, con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
8. Chuleta de Pollo a la Plancha, arroz, papas fritas, con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
9. Tortitas de Carne molida, con tomates fritos, arroz, tortilla, con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
10. Pollo frito, arroz, frijoles, tortilla, con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
11. Pollo con verduras, arroz, y tortilla, con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
12. Guiso de pipian, arroz, frijoles, tortilla, con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
13. Guiso de papas, arroz, frijoles, tortilla, con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
14. Carne de res con verduras, arroz, frijoles, tortilla, con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
15. Sopa de Res, Sopa de Gallina con albóndigas, Sopa de Frijoles con huevo.
16. Carne asada, ensalada, arroz, frijoles, tortilla, con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
17. Fajitas de pollo y cerdo, arroz, ensalada, frijoles, tortilla, con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
18. Chorizo de cerdo, fritos a la cazuela, arroz, frijoles, tortilla, con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
1. Repochetas (2 Repochetas), (tortilla frita con queso fundido, ensalada u crema), con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
2. Tacos de Pollo o Cerdo (2 Tacos), con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
3. Gallo pinto con crema, queso, tortilla o pan, con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
4. Huevos enteros, con tomates fritos, arroz, frijoles, tortilla o pan, con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
5. Hamburguesa, con papas fritas, con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
6. Sandwich de queso amarillo, jamòn prensado, lechuga, tomate, cebolla, mayonesa, mostaza, salsa de tomate, margarina), con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
7. Hot Dog (2 hot dogs), con su respectiva bebida (jugo natural o soda).
8. Nacatamal de Cerdo o Pollo (Comida Típica Nicaragüense), con su respectiva bebida (café negro o soda).


Hotel in León

As Comfort+ accommodation we use a small hotel in the historic centre of León, which is run by the owners. Each of the 27 rooms has its own bathroom, cable television, free Wifi and wired LAN, a small fridge and free coffee. There are two shared kitchens that can be used. Breakfast can be offered at a small extra. The hotel is making use of solar energy and energy-saving measures.


I. World Unite! Service Package

Mobile/Cell Phone Users: If you don't see the rates for your desired duration of stay, hide other (shorter) durations of stay.
  up to 60 Days
61-90 Days
91-120 Days
5 Months or longer
 wu servicepackage
1 Person
700 EUR 800 EUR 900 EUR 1000 EUR
2-4 Persons
(Rate per Person)
500 EUR 600 EUR 700 EUR 800 EUR
Convert rates to USD, GBP, CAD, AUD and other currencies

The World Unite! Service Package includes:

  • Individual Consultation and Preparation prior to your arrival
  • Access to the World Unite! Online Resource Centre which has Preparation Materials including Intercultural Preparation, compiled particularly for your destination (PDFs, Videos)
  • Preparation Session via Skype, together with further participants
  • Assistance with visa extension in Nicaragua or arrangement of visa (depending on duration of stay) and other official permits (if required), but not the official government fees for it/them
  • Pick-up and Transfers from/to Managua International Airport (MGA) on arrival and departure
  • Personal support staff at your location and at our international office
  • Orientation and Introduction in León
  • Accompanying you to your placement on your first day
  • 24 Hours emergency support by local support team
  • 50 USD Contribution to your project
  • Local SIM Card with 250 C$ air time
  • Issuance of Confirmations/Certificates for your university, scholarship, insurance, etc. and filling out/signing Internship Contracts for your university
  • Costs for 10 seedlings of indigenous trees that we plant on the slopes of Kilimanjaro

The Rates do NOT include:

  • Accommodation and Meals (see below)
  • Travel to/from Nicaragua (you book it on your own; we can assist you)
  • Official fees for Visa (see below)
  • Insurance (Travel Health Insurance, Liability Insurance, Travel Cancellation insurance; you book it on your own, we can assist you)
  • Personal Expenses
  • Vaccinations
  • Local Transport (Estimated amounts see below)
  • Please note that for supervised/mentored internships, some organizations charge further contributions. You find this information in the "Info Box" below the respective internship description.

II. Accommodation Costs

You can choose between the following options:
Mobile/Cell Phone Users: If you don't see the rates for your desired duration of stay, hide other (shorter) durations of stay.
All Rates in US-Dollar!
Convert Currency
 Short-time stay
(1-31 Days)
Long-time stay
(32-365 Days)
(You pay proportionally per day)
WG / Gastfamilie
Room with host family
1 Person
(Single Room)
10 USD/Day
150 USD/Month
2 Persons p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
6.50 USD/Day 100 USD/Month
Optional: Meals per person Breakfast: 2.50 USD, Lunch 3.50 USD, Dinner 3.50 USD Breakfast: 2.50 USD, Lunch 3.50 USD, Dinner 3.50 USD
Optional: WiFi Internet   1 USD/Day 20 USD/Month
Optional: Use of kitchen (incl. cooking gas)   1 USD/Day 20 USD/Month
Hotel incl. Breakfast
1 Person
(Single Room)
 16 USD/Day with Fan
30 USD/Day with AC
 360 USD/Month with Fan
700 USD/Month with AC
2 Persons p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
 13 USD p.p./Day with Fan
18 USD p.p./Day with AC
 180 USD p.p./Month with Fan
350 USD p.p./Month with AC
For incomplete months you will pay the exact amount proportionally per day.
In case of 3-4 person: Same rate as in case of 2 Persons. 5 or more persons: Contact us for group rates.

Overview of other costs:

  • Visa 10 USD on arrival at the airport for most nationals for a maximum of 90 days. Any extra month 20 USD. If you stay for more than 180 days, you need to leave Nicaragua and go to Costa Rica. When returning to Nicaragua, you get an additional 90 days for 10 USD.
  • If meals are not included: around 70-150 EUR /100-180 USD)/month
  • Small local expenses (e.g. Internet, local transport): around 30-50 USD/Month (Estimate)
  • Insurances around 30-50 USD/Month


How do I pay?

Once all your questions have been answered and you confirm that you want to participate, we will email you an invoice. You can pay it via bank transfer, credit card or via Paypal. You will pay a deposit of 200 EUR / 250 USD when the invoice is issued. One months prior to your arrival you will pay the remainder for your Service Package.
The payment modalities for rent and possible further costs (e.g. internship supervision fees, as stated in info box of the respective project description) depend on your host country and placement. We will inform you beforehand. In many cases these costs are paid on site, but for some countries and placements they need to be paid partially or fully in advance.

Other Projects That Might Interest You:

These projects are suggestions for alternatives that may interest you or those that could be chosen as COMBINATIONS. The combination of projects in different organizations is often possible and usually cheaper than two individual bookings. Please contact us to know more! Check out our other listings in the areas of "World Learner" and "Active Travel" at your travel destination to make your stay even more interesting.

Learning Spanish in León!

Learning Spanish in NicaraguaLearning Spanish is always helpful, and you can choose the intensity of your lessons. We recommend, however, a maximum of 10 hours per week. These are individual lessons with a teacher. Sometimes, students of similar knowledge levels can take lessons together. The cost of lessons does not vary according o the number of participants though.
The cost for Spanish lessons: 1 Student 8 EUR
Check "Language Training Required" in the registration form and specify the number of hours desired (minimum 20 hours).

Travel Health Insurance

We recommend the following travel insurance that is meant specifically for participants of internships, volunteering, language study, working holiday, and courses abroad. It is available for travelers of all nationalities and usable for all countries, except your home country. You can also add a journey liability insurance.
Just click on the link, fill in the form and you will get a confirmation email.

Check out our video on León !

Philippa from Germany completed a 9-month internship in the kindergarten, "Los Ositos" in León, Nicaragua. In this video, she takes us through the city of León. We also meet the Spanish teacher Aura Cristina and our (former) supervisor, Ninoska.

León - Colonial City in Nicaragua

León (175,000 inhabitants) is an old Spanish colonial city, located at a distance of around 90 km from the capital Managua and the international airport. The attractive beaches of the Pacific coast are only 15 km away and are easily and inexpensively accessible by public bus.
The city has a special atmosphere which makes one think of its wealthy past. For a long time, the university city has been the country's intellectual hub. Particularly during the university terms, the city is full of young people and has a vivid student life. Tourism is not yet developed much, but is constantly growing.
Problems of the country that participants will face during their volunteering or internship placement are the lack of development, poverty, high unemployment and insufficient educational, medical and social systems, particularly in the rural areas. Many rural Nicas migrate to the cities or leave the country altogether. Around 20% of all Nicaraguans live outside their own country.

Coordinator in León

Our coordinator in León is Katherine from Nicaragua and Stefanie from Austria.

Recreational Activities in León

In León there are numerous bars and night clubs; almost every night one can find live music somewhere. There are cinemas and a theater. At the House of Culture one can take dance, music, drawing, ballet and taekwondo lessons. The Nicas love fitness; there is a gym at almost every street.
The beaches of the Pacific coast (Poneloya und Las Peñitas) are only 15-20 km away. It is possible to surf. Around León, there are ranches where you can do horseback riding. There are several small towns around León where you can visit colonial or Indian ruins and see local handcraft production sites. In a day trip, you can visit natural parks with crater lakes or mangrove lagoons where boat trips are possible, and where you can see many birds and alligators.
Throughout the year, there are many festivals which are often religious.
On a multi-day trip, you can see the less explored paradise, "Corn Island", on the English Caribbean coast of Nicaragua.

Getting To León

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You book your flight to the airport of Managua (MGA). Also compare airfares to popular holiday destinations in the Caribbean and southern United States (e.g. Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Las Vegas, Panama, Santo Domingo, Cancún), from where you can book a cheap flight at or to Managua. From Managua airport you will be picked up and brought to Leon.
In the case of other locations in Nicaragua, we give you detailed information about travel. In most cases, you take a bus from Managua Airport and then you are picked up from the bus station near your place of work.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are there fixed start dates for the project, which I must adhere to?
No, you can arrive at any date and you can hence, plan your trip according to your availability and the prices of flights. We can pick you up from the Managua airport even at night.
Can I stay longer at my accommodation after my volunteering/internship or arrive earlier?
Yes, this is possible and we will give you our best rates. Just let us know when you arrive and leave and we will let you know the costs.
During my stay, can I travel around the country?
Of course, you can do this - most of our participants do so. However, when the travel destination is too far away, it may not be possible over a weekend; these, we would recommend you keep for before the projects begins or after the completion. You could even plan these out during holidays (e.g. Semana Santa). We will notify you of the destinations and the recommended time to visit.
Is it safe to travel in Nicaragua alone as a single female traveller?
There is no problem travelling alone, if you keep in mind certain safety rules that are applicable to almost any other location. We will advise you on the same.
Is Nicaragua not one of the most dangerous countries in the world?
No. In the Americas, including North, Central and South America, Nicaragua has the lowest crime rates after Canada. There are, of course, poverty related crimes, such as pick pocketing and robbery using knife threats. You should therefore, avoid stepping out alone at night, travel in small groups, avoid deserted areas and carrying valuables with you.
Some neighbouring countries of Nicaragua, especially Honduras, can be dangerous, and we do not recommend that you travel there.
Will I be the only volunteer/intern in the project or in Nicaragua?
The total number of participants that participate simultaneously with an organization depends on the size and activity of the organization and responsibilities of volunteers/interns. We try to avoid too many volunteers/interns in an organization at the same time. It may be that you are alone in your work site, but usually there are, throughout the year, other participants in Leon, who you can meet in your spare time, if you desire so. In addition, there are also many tourists on the road, whom you can easily meet at bars, shops, etc.
What vaccinations do I need?
Our Info - PDF that you get as a participant, gives detailed information on health care. Also refer to Recommended Vaccinations
Where will I live?
In León, you live with host families. Since León is a university town, it has a long tradition of families providing rooms for young people on rent. The houses are all in the historic city of León. Usually they have a patio, which you can reach via a lockable door from the street. From there, you usually have a separate entrance to your room from where the family lives. The families generally, have 1-4 such rooms, where often more of our participants or Nicaraguan students live. You can decide how much interaction you want with the family. You can find more details in the tab "Accommodation".
How free or bound am I in my accommodation with the host family?
In general, your room has a private entrance from the patio and you have two keys, both for patio as well as for your room. You can choose to live largely independent of the family, if that is your preference; yet, the families look forward to interacting with you and you practise the language with them. However, it is not allowed that without the consent of the host family, you invite non-World Unite! participants to visit or stay there.
Does my accommodation have internet facilities?
Yes, wifi internet is provided to you at a monthly extra charge.
How can I do my laundry?
In León, there are many laundromats. These are very cheap and wash with large and modern washing machines. You can bring a big bag of laundry in the morning and get them washed and ironed by that afternoon.
Can I cook in the accommodation ?
Yes, the families allow the use of the kitchen, but may charge a small monthly fee for additional consumption of electricity and gas. The families also offer meals for you, if you want to eat with them. This, you can decide when you arrive. Details are in the tab "Accommodation".
I am a vegetarian. Can I get vegetarian food?
Yes, this is possible.
What language skills do I need?
For most projects, basic knowledge of Spanish is expected. For some projects, English will suffice, and others require a solid knowledge of Spanish. This is stated in the info-boxes of the respective projects.

Our Partners

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