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Abriendo Mentes – Costa Rica

Location – Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito, Guanacaste province, Costa Rica

The Project – Abriendo Mentes, meaning ‘Opening minds’ in Spanish, is a small community-based project founded in 2009 which aims to empower individuals from two rural coastal communities in Costa Rica through innovative education and community development programs. They work hand in hand with the communities to help them develop the skills they need to seize educational and economic opportunities for themselves and their families.

Our support – The LATA Foundation works with Abriendo Mentes to help deliver their Youth Development Program. The local education system offers just three hours of instruction a day for an average of 85 days per year, so this after school program focuses on giving English, computer, sport and art lessons to young people aged between 4 and 20. These skills are critical to obtaining employment, particularly in the local tourism industry, which dominates the job market in this area of Guanacaste. The LATA Foundation’s funding will go towards classroom rental, internet access, classroom supplies, running and transportation costs for their youth club and sporting activities.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Abriendo Mentes shut down their in-person classes, but they were still able to get lessons and homework to students through their network of volunteers in the area. They also diverted funds towards emergency food parcels and support for families in Brasilito and Potrero. As of February 2021, they are open again for socially distanced classes – these classes are currently the only live teaching that children are receiving as the public schools remain closed. It’s an essential resource for children to keep motivated and encouraged in their studies, given that a shocking 80% of them don’t have access to a computer, and therefore have not been able to continue with their regular schoolwork.

How can you help? – £20 will provide 1 student with school supplies for the entire school year; £45 will provide classroom supplies for 1 month of English and Computer classes; £80 donation allows us to purchase a 2 week supply of food for 15 families in our food bank program. Donate here

Further information – Abriendo Mentes has developed long lasting partnerships with six local hotels and local tour operators in Potrero and Brasilito who provide support, funding, donations of resources, volunteers and tutors. Hopefully this will also lead to jobs for some of the current youth program participants. They are actively seeking more partners for this program.

If you are travelling to Playa Potrero or Playa Brasilito in Guanacaste, Abriendo Mentes would be grateful for donations of school and art supplies such as pencils, markers, crayons, glue sticks, lined paper, pens, rulers and composition-size notebooks.