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El Puente – Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in Costa Rica

Costa Rica News – The Costa Rican Times main goal is to help bring truth into the eyes of the people in Costa Rica and by doing this try to make some much needed changes for the better in this country.  Change is something that can be hard to bring to life in the land of Pura Vida.

I hear many times each day if you do not like the way things are then leave. Costa Rica will NEVER go back to the way it was in the past, with farms, simple living, and small communities.  Those places exist but are not as common anymore. With tourism came, you invited the outside world into your lives and change is going to be required. One of the ways that foreigners are trying to help is by providing community support and help to the local population.  We want to help these community service organizations  provide their helping hands to the local communities in Costa Rica.

El Puente (The Bridge) is one of these organizations.

El Puente has operated for over ten years. In that time, they  have helped 24 – 126 students per year to attend school. They provide weekly food for 4 families on a work-for-food program and operate a Community Kitchen which has fed up to 150 healthy meals to people from 29 families  three days a week. They serve mainly indigenous people, but their programs are open to all segments of the population.

Their motto is “Helping People Help Themselves To Self-Sufficiency”.

They believe five conditions must be met simultaneously if a family is to succeed at breaking the cycle of poverty and they want to help them do this.

  • Legal Compliance. A family must comply with the law. In this case, a family must send its children to school, and use government medical facilities when necessary.
  • Education. Children and adults must at the very least learn to read and to do basic math. Young adults must learn a skill, a trade, or consider additional education.
  • Income. Young adults and their parents face the same challenges about how to create a sustainable income. Without education, training, and experience, the available work is limited to general labor at low wages.
  • Food. Of course, while these things are working into place, a family still has to eat.
  • Hope. The adults and children in the family must believe that there’s a reason for doing these things–that there can and will be a positive outcome in their lives.
This is headed up by Barry Stevens and Nanci Wright out of Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica. To find out more about El Puente visit their website. We will be writing more information about their programs over the next few months to help more people get involved.

 

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