About Us



Mission: To work alongside our Nicaraguan friends to improve education and healthcare, and to employ appropriate technology at the village level.

Since 1988, the citizens of Newton, Massachusetts have joined in a partnership with fellow activists in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. We have built or renovated over twenty schools and preschools in remote villages throughout the 250-square mile San Juan school district, constructed model homes for teachers, rebuilt playgrounds, sponsored literacy workshops, and supplied donations for schools, medical facilities, and a domestic violence shelter. We helped create the Newton Workshop on Appropriate Technology to build innovative water-purification systems and smoke-free cooking stoves. We also partner with the innovative Free High School for Adults, the Solidarity House women’s shelter, and other humanitarian organizations from Nicaragua, the US, and other countries.

We organize many volunteer initiatives. Work and friendship brigades from Newton South and Newton North High Schools collaborate with their Nicaraguan counterparts on school-related work projects. We guide college and church groups, and individual students and travelers from Newton and elsewhere to go to San Juan to help teach English or work on public health projects and live with local families. We arrange for professional volunteers to visit our Sister City, including teachers and doctors. We cooperate with the New England Chapter of VOSH (Volunteers in Optometric Service to Humanity) in their annual mission to give eye exams and recycle thousands of pairs of eyeglasses in the San Juan region.

Click to see maps showing All the EcoStoves and Biosand Filters we’ve installed since 2012; All the Schools we’ve built or repaired since 1989; All the Free High School Rural “Nucleos.”

Because of its enduring history of community activism, the desperate needs of its people, the beauty of its landscape and its ecological importance, San Juan del Sur has attracted writers, retirees, as well as other Sister Cities: Giessen (Germany), Sauda (Norway), and Toroella de Montgris (Spain). Newton cooperates with our European colleagues on material aid projects.

The Newton/San Juan del Sur Sister City Project is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 non-governmental international exchange and solidarity organization supported by individuals and various schools, colleges and churches in Newton, MA.

Visit our volunteer section to learn more about opportunities to help the Project or visit San Juan del Sur. To sign up for our mailing list and receive occasional updates, e-mail newton.sjds@gmail.com.

To make a secure tax-deductible contribution online click here or send a check made out to:

“Newton/San Juan Sister City Project” to Don Ross, Treasurer, 211 Winslow Rd. Waban, MA 02468.

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