Year End Report 2015


2015 Year-End Report
CEDULA JURIDICA: 3-006-204046.
Gail D. Nystrom, MA Ed.
Executive Director
Apartado: 458 Santa Ana Centro,
San José, Costa Rica
Telefono: (506) 8390-4192
Fax: (506) 2282-7629

Another succesful and growth filled year has passed for the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation. Our core programs continue as always with the team of collaborators in La Carpio and our volunteer groups growing in number and variety.  We are now confident that we are able to give concrete proof of the ability to eradicate poverty and the societal problems that result from it. La Carpio is our living laboratory and we are happy to share our knowledge with anyone who is interested.

Family Well Being Centers

The new name of our branches has taken well and we are working daily to show how healthy relationships between family members,, especially through the strengthening of the mother-child bond can impact a community. 

La Carpio

We have three WBCs.  Our Model Education center once again graduated a happy class of 30 four year olds, ready to head off to the big school in 2016.  These children and their parents enjoyed many activities during the year, including the march in the Independence Day parade, visit to the Finca to learn about nature , Mother’s day celebration, Children’s Day party, Christmas celebration in the park  and their final graduation.  Working with loving teachers Gloria and Zayda the kids learned so much about themselves, the world around them and their ability to make an impact.

The Libertad community center continues with its commitment to assuring that the children and parents of that sector, including the Rio Torres, get all the support they need to move up and out of their poverty situation.  Children are given assistance with their school work and have many enrichment activities with volunteers.  The mothers are given support through their ongoing relationship with the teachers and the whole sector is much more peaceful and clean than when we first went there.

The Montesori style daycare center is growing in leaps and bounds as we do a complete remake of the physical plant.  We were fortunate to get a grant from a local family as well as a donor from the past and could completely fix up the space. It is so wonderful to have natural light, air, a fresh breeze, plants, new furniture, new murals on the Wall and lots of new games to learn from. The teachers are receiving a very loving series of workshops on behavior management and classroom organisation thanks to a dedicated group of students from the University of Costa Rica.  As a result of all of this, the children are blossoming and growing .

Family Well Being Centers

Rio Claro is our first attempt at going away from LaCarpio and our center there is now well accepted in the community with the loving guidance of Fatima and Jeanette supported by Angelica, Roberto and Fatima hija with special classes.  There is now a complete space at the front of Fatima’s house with all the materials and furniture set up for receiving children. 

We have now gotten an agreement to purchase the land in Uvita and with the help of Overland and Lifeworks volunteers were able to begin the construction of a larger, more appropriate space to have classes in the coming years. The property has a flat área for the classroom and below that is a perfect área for playground and gardening.  Teacher Erika is now collaborating with us in our curriculum and we are glad ot have her work with us in our goal to protect the children of the beaches from trafficking, prostitution and other dangers they may have to confront. 

San Carlos is the newest member of our FWB centers.  This grew from the presence of Nela in the northern zone who discovered there are many families wandering through the área desperate for work and any other help they can find.  It reminded us of La Carpio 25 years ago and so we decided to begin a nonformal education program with the children. Now, Nela is going to local churches to coordinate days to work the children providing the curriculum we already have in place combined with the Eco camp program and some English.  Kela is the able assistant in this program.

In addition to our programs in la Carpio and the other three regions, we have continued our work with different indigenous groups with the idea of creating more Family Well Being Centers.

Indigenous work

We support the Huetar group, near San Jose, with constant visits by volunteers to learn and Exchange ideas about how to live a better life in our modern world.  Seeing Juan and his son Nelson before beginning a volunteer experience has given us time to contemplate and learn about cosmovisión related to nature.

We also visit the Boruca and Terraba groups through a coordination with the Cabecar Project with a grant from CRUSA, a US government funded endeavour to upgrade science and technology education for the  indigenous population.  We have made contact with several different families in this área and are looking forward to providing our volunteers the chance to interface with them during the coming years.  At the end of the year, we were hosted at an event in the National Theater which included a very dramatic and interesting play about the Boruca life..  Using their traditional mask making skills, the group of indigenous led by Kamal, created a scene which brought to life his legends and spiritual beliefs. We were able to bring forty of our kids from Carpio to see this spectacle and the kids were in awe over the power of the presentation. 

The Bribri have been friends of ours for many years and we are proud to have them host our volunteer groups. They say that humans dropped to earth right there near Amubri and that they are the protectors of the sanctity of all humans.  We enjoy our opportunities to learn from these friends as well.

In Palmera, lower Chirripo, we are very pleased that the Lucas Drummond Center is flourishing.   Several groups spent the night on site this year and we look forward to hosting more in the future. The women continue to make their crafts and have found a steady source of sale in the shop Cheton Moran in San Jose.  Our high school Exchange program worked out very well this year as the United world College students sent two groups there to work and learn together.

Other projects:

La Carpio continues to flourish as a community.  This morning I went there at 6:00 AM and was so plead to see the long lines of people getting on the buses to go to work, school or high school.  Everyone looked so fresh and clean and excited to go off for a day of activities. Honestly, it had the feel of pre Christmas …filled with anticipation and positive energy. 

Food First

The Automercado supermarket chain has continued to provide us with fruits, vegetables and bread for 15 families per day as well as for our own daycare cetner and another daycare center in Leon xiii.  Veronica and Nina are both single mothers who, along with the driver Marcos are able to divide the C1,000 that the people donate for their services and provide for their own families. It is a great program, a win win win…People are better nourished, kids are healthier and the women have learned how to manage a small business Enterprise.


We have continued to upgrade houses in Carpio and have seen that the walls we build, the floors we install, the small houses we build have made many people happy. Volunteers love doing this very concrete work.

We also purchased the land for a house for Nela and began the construction of a prefab for her and her family in 2015. We expect to finish it in 2016 so Kela can go live with her mother.

Carpio Clean, Green, Healthy Happy

We continue to provide higiene kits, bottle gardens, bottle lights and fun activities to the population of Carpio.  We have now painted nearly 4,000 houses in the community.

We were once again visited by the Patch Adams clown group and they enjoyed being able to clown around with everyone in the community, including the local police.  Two of the members of the group came early and stayed after to develop more specific skills of theater with the youth of the community.  In spite of their shyness and hesitation, we made inroads and actually had some of the boys present to the community the results of their work.

Health Care

Our emphasis in this área now is centered around education and very Frank honest discussions on topics of importance and interest to the people.  Thanks to Common Ground for making these activities possible.   We cover topics ranging from kitchen higiene and safety to reproductive health care to infant development. 

We made the decisión to embark on a very complicated health fair initiative in March of 2016.  This Project involved bringing in 17 medical professionals and volunteers to work with the indigenous of Bajo Chirripo.  We began preparing the paperwork for the permits for this Project in October of 2015 and finished up finally on the day the group arrived. It was a rotund success and we are very glad we embarked on this challenge.

In addition, we provide direct medical care through the work of Prxis organisation.

One Billion Rising

For the fourth year, we participated with the Project of dancing on February 14th to a dance developed by Eve Enseler of Vagina Monologue fame to advocate for protection of women and children. WE brought nearly 100 people to the Plaza de la Cultura to dance together in conjunction with people all over the world doing the same Project.

Porque Costa Rica

An event sponsored by dear friend Elinor Detinger to draw attention to all the efforts being made by Costa Rica to créate abetter quality of life for people who live and visit here.  WE participated in the kick off event of more than 250 people at the Coribici Hotel.  Thanks to Elinor for holding true to her visión.

Funding Sources

This year, we wrote six major funding proposals.  The first was for our dear indigenous friend Jeni Segura from Bajo Chirripo who we nominated to receive an award for her work with rural women. We were thrilled to get the news that Jeni was selected for her prize and, in addition to a great certificate, she was given a monetary award of $1,000. 

Our second grant was to the Canadian government to try to find stable funding for all our Family Well Being Centers. We were not accepted for that grant.  We sent another grant to the Swiss government to help with the upgrade of our finca so that it can be an overnight retreat center.  This one was also not accepted. However, when we had our interview with the Swiss representative, he asked if we might have a grant dealing with education that could be funded. So, we developed a program called Walk a Mile in My Shoes..which was accepted! So, we are now all working on completing tha curriculum.  Finally, as an exercise in patience, we wrote a draft for the CARSI grant which is from the US government designed to provide citizen safety and security.  The grant was almost complete on time, but ultimately we decided to save our work and submit it in 2016.

We did, however get a very  grant from the family of a young woman who passed away tragically in a car accident.  Her family was looking for a way to honor her memory and to créate a way to help children.  With this grant, we upgraded our Montesori daycare center and with the physical plant improved our program is doing well. 

The Gary and Holly Kaplan Foundation returned and has helped us with several major purchases and improvements on the daycare as well.

Our plan is to make a hot lunch program for at least 30 children a week.  This program will start in February of 2016.

Our long term friends the Epstein Family Foundation, Julie Rocap, the Palmedo family Foundation and the Alllen Stevenson School have also participated in helping us to keep all our programs running.

Board News

Our Costa Rica Board continues to be a stable source of support for us and we are grateful to them for their expertise in indigenous work, technical computer needs and advice in moments when we need help with different situations. 

We are also now a strong presence in the Wells Mountain Foundation which i s our sister organization in the US that receives our tax exempt donations and processes them for us.  We are enjoying seeing how this organization has also grown and become stronger over the years and are proud to be part of their mission to créate educational opportunities for youth in Africa, Asia and some Latin countries.


Our volunteer groups continue to grow stronger and more engaged. We now have a formal program for all volunteers which includes an orientation sesión, a specific Project, interaction with children and others, a play about the poverty of Nicaragua and a crafts exhibit.  These wiling hands are the ones who make our physical projects happen.

Fransisco has become a strong part of our organization as he helps to coordinate volunteer projects, do some of the logistics set up and interface with the local people.

In La Carpio, we now have two local women, Katya and Diana, to coordinate the groups.  Their help has been indispensable to keeping things organized and moving smoothly.

Camine Una Milla…..

This is a special curriculum we have developed for everyone who Works with us.  It is a way for all our participants to think about their own lives, from their days in Nicaragua to their refugee/immigrant experience, to their incorporation in the Costa Rican culture and their hopes for the future.  We will be having an exhibit in a gallery in San Jose with a demonstration of this work.

A Final Note:

In these times of great uncertainty, we are proud that we stay stable and strong and continue to grow. We love what we do and are very glad to be able to welcome so many people into our circle of friendship. 

We are working with the Tree of Life model…the roots represent our past, the trunk, what sustains us, the branches what we reach for, the fruits the results of our work and the flowers the beauty that surrounds us. The parasites on our tree represent the challenges that teach us to stretch.

Thank you for sharing our Dream.