Two Local Organizations Join Forces to Empower Rural Education

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Seeking new inspiration, Andrea Keith and Johannah Waite, who lead the Samara non-profit organization CREAR, have hit the road last Monday April 15 to visit the organization Abriendo Mentes (Opening Minds) searching for new ideas on how to continue helping schools.

Abriendo Mentes, is a non-profit based community development initiative that empowers rural Costa Rican communities by providing educational, technological and social programs to those who need it most. They are based in Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito.

Since Abriendo Mentes’ (AM) initiatives and public relations have managed to be very successful in their mission, Keith and Waite hope to take note of some their good habits to incorporate them into their existing practices in CREAR. AM encourage Keith and Waite to open up their own minds a bit by showing them what and how they’ve been doing it. 

In Potrero and Brasilito, as in many other Guanacaste rural communities, public schools are typically very small (often having four rooms or less, leading to major overcrowding) with very basic amenities, and classes are held for a mere three hours per day, 85 days per year.

The lack of enthusiasm and funding for public education leads to apathy in the students, fosters a negative view of school and learning, and discourages children from pursuing a higher education.

So Abriendo Mentes provides the rare opportunity for community members to access continuing education classes and extra-curricular activities. For many students, these classes provide their only creative outlet, an essential element for personal growth. 

Speaking more locally, during the last couple of months CREAR has been quite active in nearby schools by offering educational assemblies on a variety of topics, such as nutrition and personal hygiene.

This has been a beneficial and entertaining project that all involved; the students, the teachers, and of course our volunteers, have enjoyed. Any schools interested in hosting one of these assemblies is encouraged to contact Andrea Keith ([email protected]) or Johannah Waite ([email protected]) about setting up a date, time and a topic of interest.