Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica

by Action Change (Formerly GVI Trust)
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
The new floor in the community centre
The new floor in the community centre

Dear Supporters, 

Our community development project is located in the coastal community of “El Cocal”, a semi illegal settlement on a peninsula off the coast.

Sidewalks 

There are no sidewalks suitable for the people when they are walking through the community. This becomes a pronounced issue during the rainy season when the roads flood and huge puddles form. So, part of the money that was requested was donated to collaborate on the costs of fuel for the cars that are helping put the sand bags on the road to stop flooding and help with the areas designed to the sidewalks.

Floor in the community centre

The community centre where we carry out the lessons for children and English classes for adults was in need of a suitable floor. The existing floor was not solid and it generated a lot of mess and dust and posed a health and safety threat for the people who come to the centre. So, we donated funds to help pay for the workmanship of the new ceramic floor installation, as well as cement to glue it.

We have also donated funds for electricity costs, potable water services and a new section of roof.

Thank you for your support, which has helped make these improvements and upgrades possible!

With Gratitude, 

GVI Costa Rica

Sandbagging the sidewalks!
Sandbagging the sidewalks!
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Reading time with the students
Reading time with the students

Dear Supporters,

The progression of the Project in El Cocal is noticeably being assisted by our increase in lesson time, something that we are really excited about!

In the past, volunteers used to spend a total of 4 hours teaching at the community centre, 2 in the morning and 2 in the evening. This has been doubled! This means that we have more time to teach, engage and reinforce ideas and lessons with the children. We are now able to take more time with lessons to make sure that all the students understand and are learning effectively. Now, by the end of each week we were confident that the children have fully grasped new concepts and can explain what was important about each one!

As well as increasing our lesson time, we have also seen a massive increase in the number of students who come to class. We are now up to about 20 children per class! This is really exciting and a huge feather in the caps to the staff and volunteers who have worked so hard, so consistently. Although these big class numbers don’t happen daily, we are still extremely proud as it means more children are interested in coming to our classes and learning whilst having fun. We get the excitement of seeing new faces every couple of days and eventually we hope that we can provide a full day of education to all the Children in El Cocal!

We have also been busy increasing our engagement and involvement in the community as a whole. We have now been involved in two soup days, used to raise money for the community center as well as helping the Community Committee with some community survey work. The survey was initiated for two reasons. Firstly, it was to assess how many people were permanent residents in El Cocal . This helps everyone better understand the complete size and growth rates. This helps the committee, and ourselves, to better prepare for community development projects. Secondly, it was to create a map of El Cocal to establish security and safety in the event of an emergency. The committee would be able to know how many houses were in El Cocal, where the escape routes are and how the people should act in the case of an emergency.

Thank you for your continued interest and support of this project! We hope you are as excited about our growth and development as we are!

With Gratitude,

GVI Costa Rica

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Stirring the delicious soup!
Stirring the delicious soup!

Dear Supporters, 

Our community centre is nearly finished- the final project that needed doing was the implementation of a water supply system. The community centre is now being used on a daily basis for classes and other community activities, so having a supply of water for drinking and general hygiene and sanitation is imperative. 

After consultation with the community leaders, it was decided that they wanted to do local fundraising in the form of a lunch-time soup sale for the wider community.  

This was a wonderful idea and a really great way to have the community get involved!

Getting ready for the big day

Various ingredients and utensils were needed for the day of the soup sale and there were lots of community members that made offers to donate and bring along the things that they had to make the occasion a success. GVI donated the meat for the soup, and of course our staff and volunteers time- as the soup sale was on a Sunday, it was not a mandatory day that staff and volunteers are expected to work but everyone eagerly accepted!

The day of the soup sale

Sunday morning came and we joined together with some of El Cocals in full spirits to cook the soup and raise some money! 

The morning started with a lot of chopping- the volunteers were intently following the instructions of the community members to find out exactly what to do. The soup was cooked on the fire outside in a large pot in a typical style of cooking Olla De Carne. This was a great opportunity for the volunteers to learn more about Costa Rican culture! The children were so happy to see the volunteers on a Sunday and tried their best to distract them by asking them to come and play with them! Everyone took turns playing and stirring the soup!

The smell enticed many passersby and many people were happy to come and buy a bowl of soup, especially when they heard what the money was going to be used for. The soup was delicious and it wasn't surprising that we sold out!

Success

We exceeded our expectations and raised 66 500 Colons- almost the total amount that we need to bring water to the community centre! Overall, the day was hugely successful- we all worked side by side for a common goal to raise money for the community centre and we all couldn't be happier at the outcome!

Thank you for your continued interest in our work!

With Gratitude, 
GVI Costa Rica

Chop those vegetables!
Chop those vegetables!
Yummy!
Yummy!
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Thank you! Gracias
Thank you! Gracias

Dear Supporters, 

As 2016 draws to a close, we look back on all of our achievements. 

The Community of El Cocal

This year we focused our efforts in El Cocal, a community located on a small peninsula a few minutes outside of Quepos. Despite the proximity to the tourist centre of Quepos, it has a very different feel and the lifestyle of the community members is quite unique. The community itself is an isolated and partially illegal settlement, home to Costa Ricans as well as many immigrant families. Many of these people have come to Costa Rica to benefit from the political and financial stability offered, but people struggle to make ends meet unless they are able to draw an income from the foreign visitors. 

The children from this community attend the school for only 4 hours a day and spend the rest of the day in the street, playing video games or watching TV. One of the aims of this project is to offer the kids a safe space where they can go to play safely and learn. Hence, we started by building a playground, then a community centre with enough space to have workshops, and space where children can play, learn about growing their own food and healthy eating habits.

A Playground

At the beginning of the year, one of our volunteers, Kate, raised funds to build the first playground in El Cocal. It was completed over the course of 4 weekends and has been used non-stop since we opened it! 

A Community Centre

Near the playground, we started erecting the roof for a community centre. We have been building the community centre in pieces, as funding becomes available. The roof was a key part as it provides a space to use during the rainy season. Kate also donated chairs and tables for the new space. So slowly it started coming together!  

Later in the year, with the help of your donations, the El Cocal community and a group of hard working volunteers we were able to make huge progress on the community centre. A fence was put up, the ground was levelled, foundations were laid, walls were built and painted and a bathroom was fixed up. 

Increasing Access

The only access to the community is by sea. There is only one boat ramp that has been, little by little over the years, washed away by the sea. This makes it very hard for old people and people with disabilities to get up and down, especially when there is low tide. It is also very slippery and becomes dangerous for everyone. People from the community came together and rebuilt the lower part of the ramp, making it safer and increasing access!

How the projects impacted lives?

One of the biggest highlights of this year was working alongside the community and under their direction. The project was initiated by the community and they were involved in all aspects, from local fundraising to committing their time, expertise and labour to the tasks. The land where this community centre is built belongs to the community and the centre has been requested by them.

As well as GVI having access to the centre for our daily projects, the centre will also be used for weddings, meetings and festivals. It is a safe space in a healthy environment for everyone to enjoy. It also has a communal kitchen used to make and sell products. Likewise, the community centre has an outside bathroom which can be rented to the people visiting the beach. In addition, the community centre aims to also be an example of sustainable organic agriculture, starting by having a compost area, local products and then have the people replicating it in their backyards!

What's on the cards for 2017?

We want to focus on using this centre to help members of the community to make a living. We aim to do this by improving the kitchen facilites, planting and nurturing an organic garden and renting out the bathroom to beach goers. We also want to get our healthy breakfast club off the ground for the local children.   

We hope that you will continue to support our work and our commitment to the community of El Cocal in 2017. 

Thank you for your incredible generosity in 2016. We would not have been able to make such huge progress without your kind support. 

We wish you a happy festive season and a prosperous new year. 

With Gratitude, 
GVI Costa Rica

The busy playground
The busy playground
The beginnings of the community center!
The beginnings of the community center!
Happy Kids Enjoying the Center
Happy Kids Enjoying the Center
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The kids came by to lend us a hand!
The kids came by to lend us a hand!

Dear Supporters, 

GVI has been working in Quepos since 2011 and concentrates mainly on the struggling communities, particularly working with the children and young people of these areas.GVI has decided to focus its efforts almost entirely on El Cocal in 2016, as it is the area that needs the most help.

El Cocal struggles due to being a partly illegal and isolated settlement, many inhabitants suffering from drug and alcohol abuse. There is also a high number of immigrant families from surrounding Latin America countries, which has led to problems with racial tension. Lots of the community are employed in the fishing industry, which means work is unreliable, so families aren’t used to saving money, just spending what they have straight away. 

El Cocal is often ignored by the residents of the surrounding areas, the bustling Quepos and the thriving Manuel Antonio. Despite El Cocal being populated for decades, the only official government building is the school, the partner of GVI. This is why GVI wants to build a community center to be a place for children to come and learn in a safe and fun environment outside of the school, as well as a place where the adults can come together, make new friends and grow as a community. We spent three weeks designing, building and decorating a space the whole community can use.

Recently GVI volunteers spent three weeks designing, building and decorating a space the whole community can use using funds donated by you!

What impact did the donation have?

The children from this community attend the school for about 4 hours a day and normally spend the rest of the day either in the street, playing video games or watching the tv. One of our aims is to offer the kids a safe space where they can play and learn. Hence, we are building a community center with enough space to have workshops, space where they can play around and learn about growing their own food and healthy eating habits.

The land where this community is being built belongs to the community, and the center has been requested by them. The center will also be used for weddings, meetings, festivals. It will also have a kitchen that the local community will be able to use and sell products to generate an income. Likewise, the community center has an outside bathroom which could be rented to the people visiting the beach, as one of the long terms aims is to change the image of El Cocal from being a neglected and dangerous town to a place where families can go to enjoy the beach. 

In addition, the community center aims to also be an example of sustainable organic agriculture, starting by having a compost area, local products and then have the people replicating it in their backyards, for eventually sell the products and get some income from it too.

We look forward to sharing more detailed news about what we have done in the next report!

Thank you for your donations, which have made the dream of a community center a reality!

With Gratitude, 
GVI Costa Rica

Starting to come together!
Starting to come together!
The volunteers who did all the hard work!
The volunteers who did all the hard work!
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Organization Information

Action Change (Formerly GVI Trust)

Location: London - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Tyrone Bennett
London , London United Kingdom
$30,241 raised of $45,000 goal
 
368 donations
$14,759 to go
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