PROYECTO SAN GERARDO – COSTA RICA

March 8 – 10 saw the ROSE world gathered in our little village of San Gerardo de Rivas to share and discuss themes of special interest to Rose members and local participants. Over 3 days we discussed Costa Rican conservation efforts and environmental education, social enterprise initiatives and maternal health and well-being in Guatemala and Costa Rica. Participants also enjoyed site visits to the nutrition centre, a local cheese producer and Cloudbridge Reserve and Reforestation Project. Proyecto San Gerardo shared some of their projects: the community café and apprenticeship centre, the launch of the new local history book: ‘Senderos Campesinos’ and many of our staff and volunteers met and shared with the 100 delegates participating. We are sure that everyone enjoyed their Tico Welcome and especially the wonderful sunshine, fresh fruits and natural setting. Thanks to all those who worked so hard to make this happen!

Recently Proyecto San Gerardo has:

* Provided scholarships to 9 university level students from our villages. They are studying a range of subjects from civil engineering, to education, nursing and medicine. Many of our students have patrons who donate regularly in order to see ‘their’ students through university. Thank you! to all our wonderful patrons and to our fundraisers in Canada and the US who support this much needed assistance.
* We have recently enjoyed a spate of volunteers from Canada! Teaching English in Herradura School and to adults we were lucky to have Emily from Ottawa who also brought her 2 children aged 5 & 7 along for the experience. They learned to gather eggs and tend to the animals, make new friends and learn lots of Spanish! We also welcomed Lamonte from Vancouver who helped out with Amigos Ingles – our conversation program for English students that provides fluency and pronunciation practice. He says that having the opportunity of a homestay was very special. He learned more Spanish, made friends for life and really felt like one of the family.
* Our English classes are in full swing and starting in May PSG offers computer skills classes and a series of new business development workshops. We have hired a local youth to teach computer skills thus providing more local employment and all our classes are free. A recent volunteer from the tourism sector is also providing valuable information to local entrepreneurs on how to develop their businesses and we are providing drop-in internet sessions for those who want to know how.
* Launched a new website specifically for the project: www.proyectosangerardo.org is full of volunteer ideas and stories as well as information about where we are an what we do. Big thanks to the Vancouver committee for all their hard work in launching this valuable resource.
Looking forward we plan to translate Senderos Campesinos into English as a fundraiser, we are engaging in local efforts to improve resources for unemployed youth and of course we continue to enjoy our local community café, farmer’s market and the friendship and solidarity it affords!
Thank you to our local committee for all their hard work and to our supporters far and wide!
Photos:  1 – 4: Rose Charities International Conference, San Gerardo de Rivas, Costa Rica
                   5: scholarship recipient David – budding engineer
6. Volunteer Lamonte with Amigos Ingles students
7. Volunteer Emily with the children she taught at Escuela Herradura
8. Lamonte’s homestay ‘mom and dad’3

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