In this edition of Stories of Hope, our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, concludes his trip to our Costa Rica affiliated sites with a visit to the Costa Rica Center in San Jose.
The beginning of the center
“This center is located in the northern part of San Jose. It is run by a woman, Marta, who is also our volunteer coordinator,” said Luis.
“The mother told us that she was so grateful for Marta and the program because without it, she would have a hard time sending all her children to school.”
“Marta used to work at what was the Costa Rica Children’s Orphanage, located in the downtown area of the city, which supported abandoned children or children from low-income families that could not raise their children on their own.”
“Our sponsorship program was initiated at the orphanage to provide additional educational support to the children, until the local government decided to part with the orphanage and converted it into an afterschool program and then a community center. When this happened, Marta was no longer employed, and the Children Incorporated program was dissolved,” explained Luis.
“But Marta was persistent and didn’t want her community to lose the support from sponsors or Children Incorporated. She decided to look for support through a local church, and she started her own version of a center where children could meet and receive food, school supplies and other essential items. And so started the Costa Rica Center!”
Teaching a community new skills
“Marta still gets help from the church today and still uses a portion of the church to meet with the children and families on a regular basis. While I was visiting in September of 2022, I met with children and their parents, and they all expressed how helpful the sponsorship program is, and how grateful they were for the much-needed support that Marta provides,” said Luis.
“Marta finds ways to stretch the funds to provide what is most needed for the children’s education. After our meeting, the children and their families showed us some crafts they had made, all thanks to Marta, who is teaching crafting skills so families can earn extra money.”
“We then went to a couple of houses of our sponsored children. One particular house was made with scrap and metal sheets and had dirt floors and partial wooden sections. The mother told us that she was so grateful for Marta and the program because without it, she would have a hard time sending all her children to school, just as many of the other parents,” said Luis.
Looking to expand and grow
“Before we finished for the day, Marta expressed to me that she is working with a local community center so that they will have more space to do handcrafts and workshops. She hopes to expand on the skills training, so that parents and children can have a way to make life easier.”
How do I sponsor a child in Costa Rica?
You can sponsor a child in Costa Rica in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at email@example.com; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Costa Rica that is available for sponsorship.