We went to visit the Costa Rica Humanitarian Foundation today. We went to La Carpio, where they have an important project down there. That village is very different from rest of the Greater San Jose area. Mostly very poor people live there. When people mentioned La Carpio, local people would take it very different. For example, people would say “Oh my god, you went there?”, “That’s a terrible area to be and you shouldn’t be there.” Today we visited that area and had a much better understanding of the people there and Humanitarian Foundation.
Costa Rica Humanitarian Foundation is non-profit organization committed to develop creative and economical solutions to social problems, especially to at risk group, such as women and children. The foundation started in 1997 and the La Carpio project started with just $300 budget per month. Now it’s managing about $10,000 per month. With the expense on hotel, buses, etc, it’s $15,000 per month. However, the things they accomplished there is amazing. They built day care centers, schools and clinic down there, which help the local community a lot. And a lot of the people in the foundation are volunteers.
Gail gave us a tour inside the La Carpio community. Most of the house there is very simply. They are made of metal pieces, cardboard pieces, etc. Most of the people just started here with a very simple shelter. Once they have a little bit money, they start to replace one wall. Right now, the entire company do have electric and water, where they used to drink and wash from the dirty river. However, there are issues with the water down there. There are pipe leakages, where the street water/dust and grey water goes in. On the other hand, the people there are very nice. They are friendly, pure and simple.
The Humanitarian Foundation also helped to build the first piece of cement down there for $4000. After that, local people think it made a huge improvement for the dusty and uneven road. Overall, the local community tries to extend little by little. Now they also found the literacy rate along cement road improved a lot.
At the end of the tour, we are introduced to Michael, a local young man. He was shot by a gun, and has to stay in the wheel afterwards. However, he is very talented in art and determined. Thus he started to concentrate on drawing and teach the kids in the community to draw as well. And a lot of his drawings carry great meaning as well. The organization did a charity sale on different kinds of hand made arts, such as necklaces, bracelets, purses, baskets and drawings. Our entire group made donation to the foundation as well.
In summary, this is a very meaningful visit. It showed us a vivid picture about the community and how determined effort and help can improve people’s life dramatically.
By the way, more pictures of the this site visit will be uploaded once we are back.