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Why did we choose Brasilito?

On September 5th, 2012, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake affected 90 educational centers in Guanacaste, including the Brasilito School. By then over 200 children were left without an appropriate Educational Center to receive lessons. 10 years later the community was still waiting for the intervention of the Ministry of Public Education (MEP).
Many parents chose to enroll their children in schools in nearby communities but for others this was not an option, either due to transportation costs or because there was no more spaces available in other educational centers.
A mother tells us her story so that we can understand a little better what these families experienced:
"It was a very big event and the school was very affected by the earthquake. The children then were in tents receiving classes outdoors. They tore down the old structure of the school and the kindergarten classroom. A group of parents from the community saw the need for the children to at least be in a protected area with walls and a roof and failed a complaint with the Ministry of Health and as a result they were given permission to use the Community Salon, which had not yet been finished. With the help of a private investor they were able to finish the place so that the children would have a space to receive their lessons, provisionally, in theory, while the new school was being built. In 2015 the children were already in the Community Salon and no action was seen on the part of the MEP. The community organized a manifestation by blocking the streets. Nothing happened." She continues telling us her story: "My son was in first grade and after the earthquake he kept asking me when was he going to be back at school? School never came back for him. He graduated from 6th grade without his school. Although it is true, the Community Salon was a better space to receive the classes, it was not an ideal place due to the noise of the vehicles. It is a very open area without walls and there were many groups receiving lessons at the same time. There was a lot of distractions. The children had a hard time concentrating and the teachers were hoarse from screaming. Time passed and in 2020 the pandemic came. This was the worst thing that could happen to us. There were no classes anymore. The school handed out printed guides for students to submit. Many kids didn't even do them. There were a lot of families with no internet access or mobile devices that would allow them to connect to the online classes. All of 2020 was very complicated for my family because I had two children in the educational system and only one cell phone with a prepaid package, which was used up very quickly, sometimes my balance ran out in the middle of a class. I also had to choose which of the two of my children I would let receive the class because both of them had to connect at the same time. My daughter, who needs special support, found it very difficult to receive online classes, especially with math. At least in my house, we had access to internet, but I always thought of the other families that did not have a cell phone and those children without knowing how to read or write and already in higher grades. It was a very big setback. My daughter graduated from primary school not knowing what it was like to have a classroom. She experienced what it was like to be in a formal Educational Center until she entered high school.”
This is only the story of one parent, just as her many others had different family scenarios and struggles throughout this whole time that were really complex. The result of this is children with poor academic backgrounds and now they are having difficulty in many matters, specially Math, Reading and English or already quit school. The scenario is better since they reopened the primary school this year but there is a lot of work to do with those kids that are still academically behind.
This is the reason why we decided to bring ACCAI to Brasilito. Every Saturday 8 am to 1:30 pm we are bringing Math, Physics and English tutors, mentoring workshops and with the help of volunteers the youth receive pickleball for over one hour. Snacks and lunch are provided every Saturday as well with the help of many volunteers that kindly donate the food to us. We have been running the program for 10 weeks now and we can see how the adolescents are developing bonding with positive peers that is so important to their psychological health development and their social life. We provide an open and frequent communication space with respect, feelings of warmth, caring and closeness, availability of supportive guidance, and responsiveness from all the people involved in this program. As we keep saying, our goal is to keep the youth at risk from Brasilito in the classrooms and not on the streets, have them engaged in our program with dynamic activities and that they finish the school year successfully. We are currently looking for sponsors who would be willing to help us reach this goal and continue with our mission. Sponsors are very important for our community enrichment opportunity to continue. Please consider donating to ACCAI. Thank you in advance for considering joining us in this great mission to help our youth have a better future! We can work together to make a difference.
Because we are a community that cares!

Karen & Erika

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