Children from poverty-stricken families require school supplies, uniforms, and shoes in order to attend public school in Costa Rica. This volunteer-run scholarship project started in 2013, and now provides help for up to 30 students in San Ramon. Some of these students are in their eighth year in the program, and with your help we can continue to raise over $14,000 per year to keep these students on track to graduate high school. As of 2019, nine of our students have graduated.
Approximately 10% of Costa Rican families live in extreme poverty. In San Ramon, the majority of these are parented by single mothers or guardians. Many of these women are non-documented Nicaraguan immigrants and therefore not eligible for government assistance to buy the school supplies, uniforms, and shoes necessary for their children to take advantage of the free public education system. Survey results indicate that 20% of these households have children aged 7-10 who are not in school.
This project will provide school supplies, uniforms, shoes, and social worker support for up to 30 financially needy but academically motivated students in San Ramon. Assistance is provided through vouchers (not cash) redeemable for approved school supplies and uniforms at partnering retail stores. Satisfactory academic scores, attendance, and teacher recommendations are necessary for multi-year eligibility; the goal is to help these students complete high school.
Education offers an opportunity for children to escape a lifetime of poverty, drugs, gang violence, and crime. Many of these single mother or abandoned families would not be able to keep their children in school without help. Rather than expand the number of students in this program, it is more important to provide continuing annual assistance until the students in the program can graduate high school, go to work, and begin to break the cycle of poverty within these families.