It’s almost impossible for us to conceive of making a living digging through garbage. But for hundreds of children and adolescents who live on the municipal dump outside Managua, Nicaragua – the poorest country in South and Central America – it's impossible to imagine anything else. Survival takes every minute of their day and every ounce of their strength, leaving nothing but exhaustion where education and playtime should be.
Even small children work up to 12 hours a day, barely finding enough food for a meal, much less valuable trinkets to sell in an effort to keep their families from starvation. They're exposed to combustion fumes, skin disease and infections from glass cuts, not to mention malnutrition and injury from older kids and adults who compete for the same 'spoils.' These are children in desperate need of rescue from abuse, neglect, addiction (many sniff glue due to its availability), low self-esteem and prostitution.