Austin Samaritans is a dedicated group of people resolved to improve the human condition in God’s larger world. We seek to show God’s love to people in need in Nicaragua by serving and assisting churches andnon-profit organizations in Nicaragua with their programs in the areas of health, education and rescue. By coordinating efforts and pooling resources for maximum impact, we connect resources and talent to needs.
Austin Samaritans serves our mission associates in Nicaragua through prayer, meeting regularly with them to encourage and assess their greatest needs, collecting and delivering needed supplies, bringing people on mission trips to engage with the people they serve, helping with construction and maintenance of their facilities, administering a child sponsorship program to provide a good education for very poor children, and through raising funds to help them in their work.
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Austin Samaritans was born out of the hearts of a small group of committed Christians in response to God’s call to serve some of His poorest and neediest people in Nicaragua. After meeting on a mission trip to Nicaragua in 2005, the group sought ways to make a sustainable difference in the lives of men, women, and children experiencing grinding poverty. After a year of prayer and deliberation, the group decided to answer God’s call by founding Austin Samaritans in March 2007.
Austin Samaritans focuses its support in Nicaragua for a number of reasons.
- Nicaragua is in our back yard. Managua, Nicaragua, is closer to Austin, Texas, than New York City is to Austin.
- The disparity in wealth is hard to imagine and substantially impacts a large portion of the population. Nicaragua is classified by the World Bank as the second poorest country in Latin America and the Caribbean. Forty-eight percent of the population lives on less than a US $1.00 a day, and 76 percent live on less than US $2.00 per day.¹
- Though health expenditures in Nicaragua represent 10.1% of the Gross Domestic Product of Nicaragua, this amounts to only $380.00 per citizen per year. This compares to $8608.00 in the US.² This low level of health care expenditures leaves many Nicaraguans without access to quality health care.
- Nicaragua is a low-income food deficit country, ranked 115 out of 169 countries on the 2010 United Nations Development Index. Twenty-three percent of children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic under-nutrition. The highest rates of under-nutrition are in mountainous departments such as Matagalpa and in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region.¹
- One out of every ten teenage girls has given birth, and over one-quarter of children are born to these teen-age mothers.³
- Nicaragua is a source country for sexual trafficking of women and children. Exploitation of minors into prostitution is believed to be the most prevalent form of internal trafficking. The response of Nicaraguan authorities to trafficking is woefully inadequate.⁴ Due to lack of education and opportunity many women in Nicaragua face a stark choice: sex work or no work.⁵
Austin Samaritans seeks to address deficits in health care, education, and social well-being. Austin Samaritans has chosen a number of ministries that demonstrate effectiveness and integrity. These ministries also work in cooperation with each other to accomplish more than could be accomplished in isolation.