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Shelter Without Walls



In Indigenous communities on the North Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua, women and girls confront poverty, discrimination and high levels of abuse. This violence is aggravated by drug and human trafficking, and perpetrators are rarely prosecuted. Women and girls survivors of violence in isolated communities need to travel many days by boat or on foot to reach a shelter and a court.

Nicaragua "The Solution"


MADRE partners with a local Indigenous women’s organization called Wangki Tangni. Together with you, we transform communities into Shelters Without Walls, where women are safe from violence, no matter what.

Partner for Social Change
  • We offer lasting support to survivors of violence. When women and girls there are in trouble, they turn first to Wangki Tangni. Through our programs, women receive emergency care and counseling, and they find a community of support and empowerment.
  • We give women a safe space to connect and organize. We organize women's gatherings, meetings and marches, where women from far-flung rural communities come together, build activist connections and demand their rights.
  • We are creating a new way to reach women facing violence in isolated communities. We are launching the only women's rights radio in this region, which will broadcast in both Spanish and Miskito, the local Indigenous language. Over the airwaves, we will reach even the most isolated communities and broadcast information that could save their lives, like where to find shelter and how to contact our grassroots partner. MADRE has already provided 200 solar-powered radios to allow Indigenous women to listen to the radio programs in their own communities.
Advocate for Human Rights
  • We train women to compile evidence and document violence. We will train women leaders, a network of human rights promoters, and judges to document, report and prosecute cases of violence against women and girls that can be brought to justice. We are providing 10 digital cameras to gather legal evidence that can support cases of violence against Indigenous women and girls.  In their outreach, women also spark new conversations in their communities, including with men and boys, changing perceptions about women's rights.
  • We work with local authorities to confront violence against women in their communities. We engage men, boys, traditional judges known as wihtas (mainly men), and religious leaders as allies to change behaviors and negative attitudes towards women and girls. They hear our radio broadcasts and are invited to community discussions about positive, non-violent models of manhood. Some of the wihtas have already committed to end trafficking of young girls. MADRE and Wangki Tangni are working together to hold them to that promise!

"Her husband listened to the show and realized she had rights too, that she had the right to leave the house and meet with other women."

- Vilma Washington, Indigenous leader, MADRE partner at Wangki Tangni, and presenter on our human rights radio station

In the News: Read more from "Radio aimed at Nicaragua's Miskito women takes on violence, trafficking," Thomson Reuters Foundation

  • Women and girls know their rights and have access to medical and legal services.
  • Men and boys are educated about women’s human rights and about their role in ending violence.
  • Local authorities are held accountable to take concrete steps to protect women and girls.
  • Women gain the tools, skills and activist networks to create communities free from violence.


Otilia Nicaragua Forum

Your Support in Action

We work with Wangki Tangni, our local partner in Nicaragua, to end violence against women and advance women’s rights. On our most recent trip, we witnessed the amazing work of community leaders and activists.


Wangki Tangni is a community development organization run by and for Indigenous women on Nicaragua's North Atlantic coast. They work to demand an end to violence and promote women's rights.


Together with our partners, we help women to heal from abuse and become powerful advocates for every woman’s right to a life free of violence. We build clinics and counseling centers. We equip women with tools to prevent sexual assault in war and disaster. And every day, we affirm that gender violence doesn’t have to be a fact of life.

How You Can Help