Our Affiliated Site: Santa Luisa in Costa Rica

facts about Santa Luisa:

  • Ages served: Children of all ages
  • Facility description: The main building serves as a nursing home for the elderly, with an attached pavilion where the children of the community receive assistance.
  • Academic year: The school 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 Santa Luisa staff occasionally visits nearby homes to assess the needs of each family. The children receive clothes, school supplies and medicine as needed. Children also receive monthly food baskets and participate in holiday celebrations for special occasions. The center also hosts monthly support meetings with the mothers.
  • Basic needs: As with all of our affiliated sites, our volunteer coordinators determine the individual needs of each sponsored child, and those basic needs are provided to them on a regular basis. Items include but are not limited to clothing, shoes, food, bedding for the home, hygiene items, medications, eyeglasses, school supplies — all which help them overcome the barriers they face coming from impoverished households.

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 ecofriendly in the world — Costa Rica struggles beneath a threatened economy and low paying jobs.

In the rural areas, these problems are often compounded. The region of Santa Luisa is remote and mountainous, a seven-hour drive from the nation’s capital, San Jose. The local population is mostly indigenous, with two main tribes, the Bribrís and the Cabacares. Local families depend on agriculture, fishing and raising farm animals to make a living. Although the area is rich in the cultivation of bananas, plantains, cacao, a variety of tropical fruits and wood products, due to its remote location and relative lack of employment opportunities, poverty is widespread. The majority of families live in homes that have no potable water, electricity or sanitary facilities. Moreover, several nearby rivers are all prone to flooding during the rainy season, threatening livelihoods and homes.

For this reason, the Santa Luisa welfare center serves as a beacon of hope to the surrounding community. It functions as a home for the elderly, a community center, and a place where underprivileged children meet once a month.