Photo: Iniciativa Colibrí

Empowerment through theatre and community

Our partner organisation Iniciativa Colibrí works in a neighbourhood centre in Estelí, a town in the north of Nicaragua. There, children and young people can attend theatre classes and there is a small library with books and games. For women, there are courses in sewing and repairing motorbikes. The aim is to strengthen the children and women in their skills and self-confidence and to create a place where they can develop. 

The children and young people visit the centre of Iniciativa Colibrí in their free time as a supplement to school. School lessons only take place either in the morning or in the afternoon. Consequently, many children are left on their own for half a day because their parents have to work. In the neighbourhood streets, however, the children are confronted with drug problems and other dangers. The situation of the families is not easy. Nicaragua has massive economic problems and high emigration which has become a problem and has increased greatly in recent years due to the socio-political situation. 

In this situation, the project works with the transformative power of the theatre: through acting, the children and young people get to know themselves and they learn how to deal constructively with their emotions and with the challenges in their lives. Through acting they develop their imagination, which opens their eyes to different perspectives and possibilities in life. Through performances in the city and in different locations around the country, new realities open up for the young people and their faith in themselves grows. 

Maria Jesus Centeno founded the Iniciativa Colibrí ten years ago together with her then teenage niece. She still runs it today with a small team and a lot of volunteeers. Strong roots in the neighbourhood and the great voluntary commitment of the young people, parents and neighbours characterise this small but strong project. 

María Jesús Centeno Tercero

Founder and Project Coordinator, Nicaragua

„I founded the project Iniciativa Colibrí in January 2012 to give the children and young people of my neighborhood, Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero, the opportunity to exercise their rights to participation, self- expression, recreation and exploration of their creative ideas. The main method of achieving this is the theatre, through which they get to know their own emotions. Over time, we also offered courses in sewing and motorbike repair for adult women. In the process, the personal development sessions have become our trademark. Later, we came up with the idea of establishing a community library for children who love to come here and learn things through play. This is Colibrí, a refuge where we can recharge our batteries when the days outside are grey and hopeless.“