Wij willen graag Familias Especiales, zeker in deze moeilijke tijd, blijven ondersrtreunen. Hieronder kunt u lezen op welke wijze wij dat willen doen. Daarvoor hebben we uw steun nodig. Bij ''U kunt helpen" kunt u lezen, hoe u uw bijdrage aan ons kunt overmaken. 


In Nicaragua is het al een aantal maanden erg onrustig. Er zijn al veel slachtoffers gevallen door de gewelddadige reacties vanuit de regering op de vele demonstraties. Ook in Matagalpa is het onrustig en ook daar zijn slachtoffers gevallen. U kunt hier meer over lezen in het magazine ''como no'' van de stedenband Tilbur Matagalpa. Ook kunt u de dagelijkse ontwikkelingen volgen op de Spaanstalige site van de Nicaraguaanse krant La Prensa.



Door deze situatie is het voor gezinnen met een kind met een beperking bijzonder moeilijk om aan de dagelijkse levensmiddelen te komen. Wij hebben dan ook besloten om het bedrag van $ 4.900, wat wij voor het hieronder omschreven projectplan hadden overgemaakt aan Matagalpa, op hun verzoek, nu volledig te besteden aan voedselhulp. Op 16 augustus j.l. hebben wij nog een bedrag van $ 2.000 over kunnen maken voor voedselhulp. Dit bedrag is binnengekomen vanuit donateurs. Graag willen wij nog meer geld overmaken voor voedselhulp. Wilt u ons hierin ondersteunen? 


bedankbrief Hermana Rebecca, leidinggevende Familias Especiales, Matagalpa:

Familias Especiales de Santa Julia Billiart
Diócesis de Matagalpa
RUC No J0510000017912
Centro Girasol 1 ½ C al Sur, Matagalpa, Nicaragua
Tel: 2772-6030,

Dear Friends of Familias Especiales, 

I would like to thank you for your generosity.  Here in Nicaragua we are going through a very difficult period where we have a lot of turmoil socially y economically.  When Arie  mentioned to me that he would like to help us out.  I immediately thought of our mothers who feel so abandoned and who are suffering from nutritional problems.  With your help we are able to  help at least 200 families to make ends meet feeding their children, we are making special packets of basic food baskets to help these families out until we can get some more stability in our country.  Our promoters have been able to identify families who need help especially with their food budget. We want to thank you  because  with this help we can visit the family and say to them you are not alone, there are people who care about you and your children.  We want you to know  your generosity is helping those who really need the help and yet so often are forgotten. It has been a rough time for all  but we are pulling together to really make it through these times. 

Thank you again.

Sister Rebecca Familias Especiales



Dear friends of familias especiales,

We are still here in Nicaragua.  We are under red alert for flooding. Our program is running but we have suspended all classes and therapy until next week, because of the danger of mudslides and road closing etc.  October is always the worst month because by this time the rivers are full and when the heavy storms come we are likely to have more flooding.  As I write this the rains continue and people are losing their homes, however humble.  There are many people throughout the country who are very affected by the floods this year especially since most social safety nets have been used up.  Our center Girasol is way too close to the river for comfort, but our tortilla business there has increased.

Today I was struck by the change in our city itself. There just isn’t any movement, hardly any cars and traffic. The poverty is growing very rapidly and we have many people moving into the city from the rural areas without any basic services.  Many businesses that were thriving before April are now closed.  The number of unemployed on the streets and parks has grown and the public drunkenness has increased, and the large number of police officers still roaming the streets with their weapons. Food prices are steadily rising and the value of our money is falling it is now at 32 for the dollar.

  I am afraid that our wheel chair workshop is not going to be able to continue.  We have no chance of a container this year and the government is quickly passing a law to set up a giant company to control all imports and exports.  All experts in business and economics say this will be a major disaster for the economy but the law is moving along very quickly, as we are approaching 200 days of protests.

 I have written a project to a group in Australia called GoLove Foundation, we want to hire a nurse in the workshop so we can do home visits and access the wheel chairs that do exist and keep repairing and maintain what we do have in mobility aides, please keep this in your prayers.  We received a new wheel chair this week a donation from out of the blue and it was fitted immediately and left the workshop in a child’s service, within a day. ( 1 chair when we would normally have at least 75)

 The religious have a meeting with the Bishop in November which will be the first time since April that we have been able to meet with him. His life is in constant danger so we are not able to have the meeting details all confirmed until days before the meeting.  There are strange things like the government holding a march for the canonization of Romero.  There was a large service in Managua at the cathedral but here in Matagalpa the march was by the government. The church could not because of the confusion between that and the marches.  The government has tried to take on the role of the church.  There is still great negativity towards the church and especially the Bishops.  They are staying faithful to call for a dialogue but the government is deaf to any words from the Cardinal but sends out death threats publicly and is arresting people for having fotos on their cell phones of anit-government marches, they are arresting people who work for human rights group who have boarded on airplanes to leave the country.

 Meantime people are trying all kinds of ways to express their protests the most recent and widespread is called pico rojo where men and women are wearing bright red lipstick.  There are several boycotts of government products at the moment but they have been difficult to organize and to keep track of their affect but not difficult for the police to arrest anyone they suspect. I just ask for your prayers especially for those who are incarcerated and being tortured.  If you can try to keep our situation in the news somehow by requesting the media to run stories that come in on the wires or news services, the news services here are being attacked practically every week, but people are getting the word out through social media and fotos.  We do count on your prayers as we hope to make it through Oct without too much loss because of the storms.

 Thanks  Rebecca Trujillo

brief van Hermana Rebecca 17-9-2018:

We have survived our patriotic days, sept 14, 15 commemorating the independence of Central America from Spain.  I am very happy that planned attacks on all Catholic Churches did not happen today.  There were many invitations circulated saying that on the 16th all loyal Sandinistas needed to be in front of a Catholic Church from 9 am on to protest and cause disturbances against the golpista church of murderers.  We never know what is true.  Thank God this did not happen.   I wanted to share with you a few things that are consequences of our 4 almost 5 months of social political crisis and now the normalization which is being faked.
There is no martial law or curfew but people have imposed one on themselves because it is not safe in the evenings.  Imagine Managua closed in the evenings.  People are staying in their homes after 6 pm and before 6 am. On our staff we have at least 5 new pregnancies. We are all closed by 6pm.  There are too many police out and about, our center is always guarded by police. The police are not any longer working as police, it seems their main job is to find any protesters and arrest them and to intimidate other citizens to try to find if they are true Sandinista supporters or not.
90% of hotels have been closed across the country, and 2/3 of the countries restaurants have been closed.
The airport is almost completely abandoned and there are few airlines who have daily flights to Nicaragua.  There just are not any tourists coming into Nicaragua.  Also the local tourism is down 50% for instance Nicaraguans who are going to the beaches or to recreational activities or visiting other cities is almost nonexistent.  I know of several restaurants who served Nicaraguans who would come to Matagalpa for sales jobs, or for workshops or other activities from other parts of the country, these restaurants are now having to close because they have no customers.  Our income from our small businesses has dropped 25%.  All the artisan markets have been closed and people are just selling anything they can on the streets to earn money to feed their families.
So what are Nicaraguans doing?
Every weekend there is at least 1 major protest march in Managua  and they are huge, plus there are constant marches throughout the country in different cities.  On independence day some streets woke up to blue and white balloons covering their streets (blue and white are Nicaraguan colors which were always used on independence day, colors of the flag.) Our neighborhood woke up to strange noises as troops were in the streets at 4 am busting the balloons with their guns it was weird to see heavily armed police trying to break the balloons.  We were also surprised to see the balloons.  There were at least 10 people who were arrested for this action of letting balloons in the streets, across the country, because it was a sign of opposition to the government  the opposition is known as blue and white.    Uniforms of the school bands were changed from the blue and white of the flag to red and black for the Sandinistas and really the traditional parade was changed to be a Sandinista walk, very few schools participated.  Yes, the marches continue, today there was a march to release prisoners and they were fired on by the paramilitary.  Two days ago the protesters started taping white and blue balloons on the shields of the antiriot police who were trying to stop the march.  People have no fear because they feel they are doing the right thing by marching to stop torture and repression.
Nicaragua is a small country and getting smaller as over 200,000 people have left the country legally or illegally.  The number is conservative because it is hard to know the exact number since many left secretly.  Most have gone first to Costa Rica.  I know families who sent their children with visas to different countries with the hopes of trying to stay longer than their visas.
In general, the professionals are leaving the country or not being able to work in their profession.  Lawyers are having their license revoked if they are not Sandinista the same with all the judges.  Anyone who helped the protesters gets fired.  This is really true.  It is seen as a crime if a doctor helps a wounded protester.  Accountants are also being fired if they are not Sandinista.  We know of two firms who have had to leave the country because they helped the marchers.
There have been over 300 health workers, doctors, specialists who have been fired this is also a conservative number because it is hard to keep track of the actual number who were fired or let go because of budget cuts.  But it is not hard to figure out that if we have less doctors working we will not have good medical attention especially for the poor with an increase in medical emergencies and epidemics.  Health problems are rampant as people are not risking going to the clinics in case they might be arrested, and because living conditions are deteriorating and there are hygiene problems which had previously been improved.
More than 60 teachers have been fired. All the faculties of the universities have been fired. The universities lost the school year and hundreds of students were not accepted back.  Teachers are fired if they do not participate in Sandinista marches and turbulence activities.
The social security has lost more than 800,000 paying members because of the unemployment.
Daniel redid the national budget for 2018.  He cut out all social services, cut education, cut health and increased military and police and security costs, and kept the big metal trees of life on the budget with money for rebuilding those that were cut by protesters. All police have new vehicles and motorcycles.
All city budgets were cut by 50%. The courts have had to let go of 50% of their workers.  In the meantime, large amounts in the millions of dollars are being taken out of the national bank by the government without any explanation.
In the campo the men are leaving their families because they are hiding from the police and the paramilitary.  
Many NGOs are closing and social services closed or reduced.  This affects us greatly because we have no places to refer people for services and the vice president has stated publically that there are no dysfunctional families in Nicaragua so there are no foster care or emergency social services for children or women or anybody. A few months earlier they closed the police commission for women and children, which had been in every city and employed social workers and psychologists to help with domestic violence etc.  now ……
And of course there is the persecution of the Catholic Church and some evangelical churches which is being invited by the government for instance the vice president gives a speech each day to incite mobs and she says things like you need to fight like dogs to secure our country from the golpistas (word being used to represent the church and any protesters) A priest in Leon was attacked in his home, robbed and tied up yesterday.  He may lose an eye because of the attack.
Also there have been more than 450 people killed since the protests started in April and there seem to be over 700 people in the jails, many are human rights workers and other human rights workers have been deported or escaped to other countries for their lives. So it is difficult to report abuses, murders, attacks etc. and keep track.
Miss Nicaragua is having her head shaved as part of her protest in solidarity with the prisoners taken into custody illegally and convicted illegally as terrorists.  Daniel did an interview with a news service from Germany stating that there are no political prisoners. Now some of those invisible prisoners’ parents are also being arrested, plus many famous members of the Sandinista Revolution and public figures.
So we continue to pray and ask God for guidance and accompany the poor whose suffering at times is unbelievable because none of this makes any sense.



Brief over de situatie in Nicaragua van het Matagalpese Comité Mano Vuelta 1)

Het conflict in Nicaragua begon vanwege de apathie van de regering, het echtpaar Ortega-Murillo ten aanzien van de gevolgen van een grote bosbrand in het reservaat Indio Maíz. Hoe die is ontstaan is niet bekend, maar buitenlandse hulp (van Costa Rica en de VS) voor het bestrijden van de brand is afgehouden omdat dat niet nodig zou zijn en omdat die landen geen verstand zouden hebben van het gebied. De regering deed voorkomen of ze de brand met behulp van jongeren van de regeringspartij met emmers water hebben kunnen blussen. Lachwekkend en ondenkbaar gezien de dimensie van de brand. Lokale organisaties en milieu-activisten die de schade wilden bekijken, kregen geen toegang tot het gebied. Het vuur is geblust door de regen die daar is gevallen. Men schat in dat het gebied dat is verwoest 5000 hectare groot is, in het centrum van het reservaat (we hebben geen ofciële informatie).

Daarna heeft het bestuur van het Nicaraguaanse Instituut voor Sociale Zekerheid (INSS) op willekeurige en eenzijdige wijze een maatregel goedgekeurd die aanvullende kosten oplegt aan gepensioneerden en de tarieven van de verzekerden verhoogt om het tekort te verhelpen van de geldkist van INSS, veroorzaakt door het slechte beheer van de portefeuille sociale zekerheid. Het is algemeen bekend dat deze fondsen worden gebruikt als kleine kas door de regering die aan de macht is. Dit leidde tot protesten van ouderen, protesten die de kop werden ingedrukt door de nationale politie, paramilitaire groepen en pro-regering knokploegen. Universitaire studenten hebben zich toen bij de protesten gevoegd om hun steun te betuigen, waarop de repressie begon en buitenproportioneel geweld is gebruikt tegen ongewapende burgers. Dit was de manier waarop de regering de mensen het zwijgen wilde opleggen; er werd geweld gedaan aan het recht op vrije meningsuiting en vreedzaam protest, iets wat onze grondwet garandeert.

In de maand april waren er protesten van studenten op diverse universiteiten en in grote steden in Nicaragua zoals Managua, Matagalpa, León en Estelí uit solidariteit met de gepensioneerden. Deze protesten mondden uit in repressie van de politie; een jongen verloor een oog en vele anderen raakten gewond door traangasbommen van de ME. Hierdoor werden de protesten intenser; de studenten verschansten zich in de universiteitsgebouwen van de UPOLI, UNAN, UNA en UNI. Anderen zochten beschutting in de kathedraal van Managua die functioneerde als plaats van bescherming en zorg voor gewonden. Al deze agressie had doden en vele gewonden tot gevolg, maar ook nóg massalere protesten waarmee de bevolking haar afschuw liet blijken over de agressie en de doden. In allesteden werd geeist te stoppen met de repressie.

Na acht dagen heeft de president de INSS-maatregel opgeschort, maar hij zei niets over de agressie en de doden. Dit was voor de studenten reden om de protesten te handhaven en zij kregen toen steun van vele sectoren:het bedrijfsleven, de vrouwenbeweging, onafhankelijke vakbonden, onafhankelijke journalisten, boeren die al langer tegen het Nicaraguakanaal hadden geprotesteerd en maatschappelijke organisaties. Zij riepen op tot democratisering van het land, tot het vertrek van de regering en de komst van de Interamerikaanse Commissie voor de Mensenrechten (CIDH) om het gebeurde te onderzoeken en recht te doen. Deze Commissie was hier vier dagen lang en heeft een voorlopig verslag opgeleverd met vijftien aanbevelingen om de situatie in Nicaragua betre?ende de mensenrechten te verbeteren.
In Matagalpa en op andere plaatsen zijn er barricades en wegversperringen opgericht en die zijn er nog steeds.
Studenten leiden dit, maar andere jongeren en enkele politieke partijen gaan hier tegenin. De eisen van de demonstranten zijn intussen uitgebreid. Ze willen andere bestuurders aan de openbare universiteiten en roepen duidelijk om het vertrek van Daniel Ortega en zijn vrouw Rosario Murillo.
Op 16 mei is de dialoog van start gegaan, is de CIDH gekomen om onderzoek te doen naar het geweld, onder meer in Matagalpa.brand in
 reservaat Indio Maíz
Deze hele maand zijn er marsen en protesten tegen de regering, maar de regering organiseert ook tegendemonstraties. Dit betekent dat de polarisatie is toegenomen en dat is moeilijk voor ons allemaal, want we zijn allemaal Matagalpinos, we hebben vrienden en kinderen die meedoen met de protesten, maar we hebben ook vrienden en familieleden die voor de regering werken. Logischerwijs zijn de economische gevolgen van dit alles groot, het toerisme ligt op zijn gat en de handel is ernstig getro?en. Maar veel mensen vinden dat de democratie en de regeerbaarheid van Nicaragua nu eerst moeten worden verbeterd.In Matagalpa was ook repressie door de ME op een aantal plekken langs de ringweg, vlakbij restaurant las Praderas en bij de INEP (Hogeschool).
Er waren vier doden en 25 gewonden volgens het CENIDH (Mensenrechtencentrum Nicaragua). Op landelijk niveau zijn er deze dagen 76 doden en 685 gewonden gevallen, waaronder leden van de politie en knokploegen en inclusief gewone burgers die de protesten en marsen steunden. Er zijn ook veel mensen vastgezet en pas dagen later vrijgelaten, wat veel pijn en rouw veroorzaakte bij de moeders en de families. Er zijn ook mensen gevangengenomen op politieke gronden en er zijn mensen vermist die -wat pas later bekend werd- gedood blijken te zijn na mishandelingen door de politie. Dit doet ons denken aan de trieste dagen van de dictatuur van Somoza (in de jaren zeventig).


1) Mano Vuelta is de belangrijkste counterpart in Matagalpa Deze organisatie adviseert de stedenband, beheert projecten, voert deze uit en maakt verslagen.


Tijdens en na het werkbezoek wat door Arie Erkelens in maart aan Nicaragua heeft gebracht is samen met de directeur, Hermana Rebecca Trujillo en, de adjunct directeur / hoofd sociaal werk, Marlane Hernandez een projectplan opgesteld. Dit plan heeft als doel de levensomstandigheden van gezinnen met een beperking te verbeteren

Er is grote behoefte aan: 

                                                   oventje met schoorsteen 
                                                  nieuwe betonnen wasbak

                                          aanbrengen van een betonnen vloer  
Er was vanuit diverse organisaties en donateurs € 4.900 beschikbaar voor dit projectplan. Echter vanwege de politieke ontwikkelingen en gewelddadige onlusten die nu zijn onstaan, hebben wij gekozen al dit geld beschikbaar te stellen voor voedselhulp. 
Wij zoeken daarom nog mensen die ons financieel willen ondersteunen om dit projectplan alsnog te realiseren. Uw bijdrage is dan ook van harte welkom!

projectvraag: de voedselwoestijn 

Er zijn vijf krottenwijken aan de rand van Matagalpa, waar mensen naar toe zijn verhuisd na een periode van overstromingen. Dit zijn de meest ''armzalige'' krottenwijken van Matagalpa. Er is geen watervoorziening en geen elektriciteit. Familias Especiales heeft een servicecentrum in één van deze krottenwijken met groepsruimten, een tuin en een waranda. In dit centrum hebben we wel een watervoorziening kunnen realiseren.
De vijf krottenwijken zijn ver van de lokale markten. Er zijn een aantal winkeltjes in de buurt, waar men de boodschappen kan doen. Hier is echter alleen ''junkfood'' en ongezonde frisdrank te koop. Men leeft daar, als het ware, in een voedselwoestijn.

Familias Especiales wil starten met het verbouwen van eigen groenten en fruit en een kleine boerenmarkt, waar mensen, dichtbij, goedkoop gezonde voeding kunnen kopen. Voor de start van het project is een bedrag nodig van $ 2.500. Hierna zullen de maandelijkse kosten $ 470 bedragen.