PROYECTO SAN GERARDO provides skills training and scholarships in the rural area of southern Costa Rica around the town of San Geraldo. The project focuses especially on the needs of women and youth and strives to provide them with the skills to improve their lives. Every year approx. 200 students benefit from our courses such as English, computer skills, Business, and First Aid. Many of our students volunteer their time with us to help build community programs. We also accept overseas volunteers who stay with local families during their visits.
A project to build healthy communities through poverty reduction in rural Costa Rica.
WHO WE ARE:
Proyecto San Gerardo was founded in 2007 and is a registered NGO in Costa Rica and a Rose Charities Canada project. We provide skills-training, scholarships and job opportunities focusing especially on the needs of women and young rural Costa Ricans in the southern sector of the country.
THE PROJECT BACKGROUND:
Costa Rica’s rural population, especially in the south, has fallen far behind their city cousins in access to affordable education and adequately paying jobs. We offer an opportunity to local people in the villages of Rivas, Perez Zeledón, to stay in their communities and acquire income-generating skills. Every year an average of 200 students benefit from our English, Computer Skills, Business skills, First Aid and Apprenticeship courses Other obtain partial to full high school and university scholarships. We provide employment to 3 local women and this year we will expand to 6 to accommodate the demand for Proyecto San Gerardo’s activities.
WHAT WE DO:
TEACH We provide job-ready English classes free to youth and adults in 3 villages. Our certified volunteer teachers taught 45 students in 2012. Students with English skills are more likely to find work in the tourist sector locally. We teach basic computer skills courses, thanks to the generous, donation of laptops from Vancity Savings Credit Union. Computer skills are now considered basic in job acquisition in Costa Rica and in 2012 65 students finished their programs.In addition we have run Small Business Development training courses for 38 local businesses with access to specialized assistance and individual mentoring.
SCHOLARSHIPS – started in 2010 we provide on average 10 – 12 scholarships annually to students in high school and university. The idea is to keep students in school and provide some assistance to students who wish to enter higher education. All our students help out with local programs in recognition of the assistance they receive. You can support a student from as little as $100 a year – contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
EMPLOYMENT – currently we provide jobs for three local women, but shortly we will expand to six positions due to added demand. Working as coordinators, Spanish teachers to our volunteers, our staff gain valuable experience within a supportive environment in order to secure long term positions in the future. We provide a playgroup for local children aged 3 – 6 and once a week host a popular Farmer’s Market. The market or feria attracts buyers from near and far and provides small farmers a chance to sell their produce locally.
WWW.SANGERARDOCOSTARICA.COM – Proyecto San Gerardo and the community launched a local website in 2007 to promote local businesses and activities to tourists visiting the area. We are located on the flanks of Mt. Chirripó, the second highest mountain in Central America, and backpackers appreciate the extra information and the village certainly gains from faster and more efficient reservations.
VOLUNTEER PROGRAM – our volunteers come from many countries including Canada,and Costa Rica. Those teaching classes are all certified. Our volunteers spend between 6 weeks to 1 year living with local families in Homestays. They learn Spanish, join in family activities and make lots of new friends exchanging cultural know-how and ideas. We provide 8 local families the opportunity to host a volunteer annually.
The volunteers consider their work in Costa Rica as well as their experience of another country and culture to be extremely valuable. They learn or improve their Spanish and experience satisfaction in contributing to the local community. Said one volunteer, Barbara: “This volunteer experience has been so worthwhile and rewarding for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the people, the classes, the town. An experience I shall never forget.”
If you would like to support Proyecto San Gerardo at Rose Charities through a donation towards our scholarships, classes or sustainable employment programs we would be most grateful. We also offer a number of volunteer opportunities in Costa Rica for teachers, community developers, artists, café staff and web designers. Please make your donation HERE (select Project San Gerardo from the fund dropdown) and for more information, or to contact us, visit http://www.sangerardocostarica.com/get-involved/proyecto-san-gerardo/