La Carpio is a refugee camp just slightly west of Costa Rica's capital, San Jose. It was founded in 1994 when a few homeless families settled there. Since then, the population of this squatter settlement has grown exponentially: some estimates indicate as many as 35,000 people living in a mere 1.5 square mile area. About half of the residents are Nicaraguan refugees, the rest Costa Rican.
While many have no shelter, houses are generally constructed with little more than scraps of corrugated tin, with dirt floors. Residents take pride in their homes and do their best to care for what they have, though living conditions are oppressive: families average six to a shelter.
Too often, children are hungry, often seen sucking on bags of sugar water just to keep their bellies feeling full. Although the Costa Rican government is legally bound to provide LaCarpio's children with some form of schooling, the one school that is provided is substandard at best. Many children are unable to go to school because of the mandatory and escalating cost of shoes, uniforms, textbooks and school supplies. Those who do go to school attend one of three daily shifts, for a mere two hours each session
Health care needs are pressing. One small clinic serves over 20,000. Residents typically wait long hours for services. Vitamins are so scarce that they are distributed by priority, only to those who are the most malnourished.
ReNuevos: An Oasis of Hope!
In spite of difficult odds, hope for LaCarpio lies in ReNuevos, a non-profit association dedicated to improving the lives of young people through personal guidance, education and community. ReNuevos' dedicated staff tirelessly works to build programs, including those financially supported by Good For Kids, that are situated in an environment of trust and support. Through the years, ReNuevos has grown to become a place where young people feel safe and valued, and where they now can find the promise of a brighter and self-sustaining future.
Good for Kids is grateful for the generosity of so many individuals - through volunteerism and fund-raising participation - who make possible for us to offer such a substantial level of support to this masterpiece of love and dedication to the children of LaCarpio.