Rivas is situated in south-western Nicaragua, on the Pan-American Highway, 111km southeast of Managua. It is the capital of the region of the same name, which borders Costa Rica. Geographically, the region is an isthmus between Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific Ocean; its smallest part is only about 18km wide. The town of Rivas is an important traffic junction on the way to and from Costa Rica, but also for tourists visiting the volcanic island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua or the southern beaches near San Juan del Sur.
Due to the extreme poverty, the level of child labour and sexual exploitation in the region is quite elevated. The high unemployment rate forces many parents to go to the wealthier neighbouring country Costa Rica for work and to leave their children behind. As there is no other organisation in the region that provides extensive care for orphaned or abandoned children, it was decided to set up a new SOS Children's Village on the outskirts of the town of Rivas. SOS Children's Village Rivas consists of 14 family houses, where up to 126 children can find a new home. Furthermore, there is the village director's house and an administration building with a multi-purpose room.