Before Ciudad Sandino became what it is today, the area was first used as a refugee project for many Managua residents living around the shoreline of Lake Managua in 1969. Additionally, faced with the infamous earthquake of 1972 in Managua, many more families were forced to move to this area that was originally called OPEN 3 (Permanent Operation for National Emergency). Originally, a neighborhood of Managua, Ciudad Sandino was declared its own municipality in 2000.

With a population of over 130,000 people, the municipality of Ciudad Sandino is faced with increased poverty with a growing trend toward extreme poverty. There is a lot of pressure and need for families to rely on the younger generations to look for jobs in sweatshops or in the market, therefore pulling them out of school with no time to enjoy being a youth.

CANTERA began working in Ciudad Sandino in 1988 with children, adolescents and youth by offering spaces where they could increase their self-esteem, develop their personal spirituality, pursue academic studies, and strengthen their ethical values necessary for their personal and familial development. We encourage our young people to be involved in their municipal policies so that they become agents of change in their own community.

Through the support of national and international partnerships, we have been able to provide an array of programs where young people are able to enjoy being young and develop personally through karate, dance, theater, spiritual retreats, camps, environmental campaigns, leadership training, and workshops focusing on gender equality and sexual health.