Our Affiliated Project: La Milagrosa

in Tejarcillos, Costa Rica

facts about La Milagrosa:

  • Ages served: 5 – 18 years
  • Education: School-aged children attend local public schools, where core academic subjects are taught.
  • Academic year: Typically begins in February and ends in early December. Students enjoy summer break from mid-December to early February and a short winter break in July.
  • Outreach: The coordinator at La Milagrosa makes occasional visits to the more than 400 shacks that comprise the town, assessing the needs of each child and family. Children receive monthly food baskets, and the center provides mothers with emotional and psychological support. The center also hosts holiday celebrations for the children to attend.

Situated in the Central American Isthmus, Costa Rica is a land rich in natural beauty including tropical rainforest, volcanoes and lakes. It shares borders with Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the south, the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Despite its status as one of the most stable, prosperous and progressive nations in Latin America — and one of the most eco-friendly in the world — Costa Rica struggles beneath a threatened economy and social unrest. Its lenient immigration laws invite a flood of immigrants from neighboring countries. As a result, the country has seen a dramatic increase in unemployment, poverty, inflation and crime.

This is perhaps most pronounced in the slum town of Tejarcillos, located just beyond the outskirts of the Costa Rican capital, San Jose. The town came into being when immigrant workers illegally settled on government land there. Life in what is now a teeming slum grows steadily worse as more newcomers desperate for jobs arrive each day. These workers eagerly accept jobs that are spurned by native Costa Ricans, most in construction and field labor. They soon find that no one will pay them more than the local minimum wage, and they struggle to provide even the most basic necessities for their children. For this reason, the La Milagrosa welfare center serves as a beacon of hope and a safe haven for the impoverished families of this community. La Milagrosa provides area children with much-needed support and guidance, meeting their immediate needs while giving them the tools to rise above the difficult socioeconomic circumstances from which they come.