The Ciudad Sandino Play Center


The sky is the limit. These inspirational words grace the front door of CANTERA’s recently opened Play Center in Ciudad Sandino. Weekly, 70 preschoolers and kindergarteners come here to continue learning after school—while having fun.

In the 1908s, CANTERA founded a Community Preschool which educated thousands of Ciudad Sandino’s children over the course of 30 years. The preschool closed in 2018 to follow the current Nicaraguan educational model and CANTERA’s financial reality. In its place, the Play Center opened to continue imparting holistic education for the community’s youngest members.

Through games, books, dance, theatre, art, and sports, the Play Center is full of endless, educational fun for the community’s little ones. Because these children are falling in love with learning at a young age, they are so much more likely to love learning for the rest of their lives. As have hundreds who have walked through CANTERA’s doors before them, these children will become the community’s architects, computer technicians, leaders, business owners, university professors, social workers, and Play Center Teachers.

Two teachers volunteer their time and love at the Play Center. Committed community members keep the Play Center thriving with their volunteer work and enormous hearts.

The teachers get parents involved in their children’s’ education—a key element for kid’s overall success and well-being. The parents have formed committees to support the Play Center’s in everything from building maintenance to organizing activities for the children.

Of course, the final element that helps make the Play Center a reality is you. With your solidarity and kindness, extracurricular education for Ciudad Sandino’s children is possible.

Thanks to you, the sky really is the limit at CANTERA’s Play Center.

CANTERA Continues Amidst Uncertainty

Dear Friends,

We are deeply grateful for the support you are sharing during this difficult time in Nicaragua. Throughout the country, political and civil unrest continues to affect almost every part of society.


CANTERA is constantly adapting to the national crisis. Staff goes into work daily, but most activities and workshops have been put on hold for the time being.

In all communities where CANTERA accompanies, the people are using the leadership and empowerment they have developed to adapt and support each other. In urban areas, for example, the safest times and places are chosen for youth to receive psychological and emotional support, which is currently a priority.

Additionally, CANTERA is working to maintain stability throughout this crisis so that we can fully engage with Nicaraguan communities when the opportunities arise. Violence continues to deeply affect the communities CANTERA accompanies, especially urban youth and their families; the need for trauma, healing, and psychological support is and will continue to be great.

Finally, we want to share with you that two employees of the CANTERA Development Office have just moved back to the States. Andy and Rose are deeply grateful for the lives they have led thus far in Nicaragua and are going to be returning to their respective home states. This challenging decision was made for a number of reasons, including safety.

The Development Coordinator, Bill, will continue working in full capacity as CANTERA Liaison to Friends of Cantera. Please contact him at with further questions or information.

Please continue to keep CANTERA and Nicaragua in your thoughts and prayers.

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Seeking Solidarity

Dear Friends,

As you may have seen or heard, Nicaragua has been experiencing civil and political unrest over the last several weeks. We want to thank you for your continued friendship and support for Nicaraguans and their communities at this time.


What does this mean for CANTERA?

Over the past month, we have seen the effects that the sociopolitical unrest has quickly had on CANTERA and all of the Nicaraguan people and communities. We continue to accompany our children, youth, men and women, supporting them in the best way possible given the country’s current situation.

CANTERA Youth Leaders in the urban programs have been most affected by the unrest. Support is offered constantly for youth and their families to help heal trauma and work towards peaceful alternatives to violence. Last week was the first week that the urban community centers could open every day for safety reasons.

Many of CANTERA’s programs in rural areas have been put on hold, as travel to and from communities is not always possible.

Unfortunately, all five immersion trips scheduled for June and July have been cancelled or postponed. This will have a tremendous economic impact on CANTERA’s Conference Center.

If you would like more details or up-to-date information about what is going in CANTERA and Nicaragua, please e-mail us at

As we continue moving forward, we hope that you keep CANTERA and Nicaragua in your thoughts and prayers.
Thank you for your continued kindness and solidarity.

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A Cornerstone for Community Empowerment

This letter has been printed in the Friends of Cantera Spring 2018 Newsletter and was written in honor of CANTERA’s 30th anniversary.

Sister Donna Innes, Friend of Cantera Executive Board Secretary, with Sr. Anabel Torres

A letter from CANTERA’s Founder and Director, Anabel Torres

Dearest Friends,

Like you, we know it is so important to listen to the people’s voices and experiences.

Even in choosing a non-profit name, we turned to the communities, “What should we be called?” CANTERA was suggested, meaning cornerstone.

“Why cornerstone?” we asked.

You work alongside us, supporting our leadership and ideas as we develop our communities, laying a strong foundation of sustainability, health, and prosperity for our families and neighbors,” the communities responded.

Today, you are a cornerstone in this accompaniment, leadership, and empowerment–working for a world in which we see our shared humanity,a world in which we work for equality for all people, a world in which we seek justice for all cultures, across boarders, and despite language or race.

You dream with us and carry the spirit of CANTERA to other parts of the world; you visit us to learn and teach; you support us as volunteers and dedicated donors; you work

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Thank you for your friendship and support!

alongside us and listen to the people’s voices and experiences.

Your friendship is a cornerstone for Nicaraguan community empowerment.


Anabel Torres


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A Letter from Anabel Torres: CANTERA Update


Dearest Friends of CANTERA, friends of Nicaragua,

As we write today, we request you keep Nicaragua and its people in your thoughts and prayers.

As you may have heard in the news, Nicaragua has been experiencing social and political unrest since last week. In this situation, CANTERA seeks to foster peace as we continue supporting the communities where we work.

CANTERA strives to promote the well-being and sustainable development of the vulnerable communities we serve and in light of the country’s current situation, we continue to support Nicaraguans as the country seeks peace and social stability; we support the healing of individuals, families, and communities that have been most strongly affected by recent violence.

In conjunction with many other non-profits in Nicaragua, CANTERA is acting in solidarity to support countless communities. We are still actively supporting the leadership, development, and empowerment which you so generously support.

With much love, we send hugs from Nicaragua to you. Please hope for compassion, peace, and love for Nicaragua. We have no doubt that this intention will multiply throughout the world.

In solidarity,




CANTERA – Center of Communication and Popular Education
Founder and Director

Basta to Violence against Women

Amidst a machista, patriarchical society, young leaders–women and men–raise their voices to say Basta! Enough! to violence against women. Below is a CANTERA Youth Leader’s reflection on violence prevention:

“Basta to Violence Against Women” by Victor Mercado

All women experience the violence of street harassment. As men, we should respect all women. For this reason, I say “basta” to violence. Basta to repeating what our grandfathers, fathers, uncles, and brothers do to women. Let’s make a change. Let’s prevent the street harassment from which women in our society suffer.

Let’s construct a more equitable society by first making changes in our own families, then with our friends. We are youth working for violence prevention. We are agents of change.

Support Youth Leadership in Nicaragua Today!

Photograph and reflection by Victor Mercado, CANTERA Youth Leader. Victor’s photograph and reflection were among the 15 finalists in CANTERA’s 8th Photo Contest for Social Change.

CANTERA: School of Dreams

What does CANTERA do? How does CANTERA change the lives of youth, children, or small farmers in Nicaragua?

In the video below, Roxana shares her story–an experience with which 30 years of CANTERA Communtiy Leaders relate. Today, Roxana is  a social worker.

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CANTERA: School of Dreams

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Video elaborated by the CANTERA Communication Team.