The town of Estelí was chosen as the location of the first Nicaraguan SOS Children's Village because the 1972 earthquake had had very bad consequences for the surrounding region. Many children lost their parents; others were abandoned because of the severe poverty of their families.
In 1973, the first SOS families moved into their new homes. The SOS Children's Village consists of 14 family houses, the village director's house, a multi-purpose hall, an administration area and a tailor's workshop. A big playground and a basketball field are there for the children to play in. In 1979, the first youths moved to the new SOS Youth Facility. This is a place where youths live together and prepare for their independent lives while they continue their education or training.
On the site of the SOS Children's Village, there is an SOS Vocational Training Centre for SOS mothers and staff and an SOS Hermann Gmeiner School. This school includes primary, secondary and technical school and offers education to up to 1200 students. The technical school provides training in dressmaking, accounting, computer, commerce and secretarial duties.
Over the years, several SOS Social Centres have been set up in different parts of Estelí. All of them run child-day care centres and childminding programmes as a measure of family strengthening. In addition, they offer different training workshops in income-generating activities for parents of the local community.