Helping People Help Themselves To Self-Sufficiency


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El Puente - The Bridge


Purpose:       Assist families in placing and keeping children in school

Cost:                   Approximately $156 for startup and  $9 per month per student

Currently:         Started 142 children in 2013, in 17 schools in Costa Rica and 5 in Panama

Next Steps: Work with the schools we impact and determine what we can do to help.

                     Make sure that schools get additional supplies as they are donated.



Purpose:         Provide hot meals three days a week in a "Community Kitchen" format;

                           Provide one bag of supplemental food each week for qualifying families on a

                    work-for-food program.

Cost:                    Hot meals:  Approximately $1.88 per bowl of soup

                          One bag of supplemental food: $19.61 per bag

Currently:        Providing hot meals for 150 people a week, more or less;

                           Providing bags of supplemental food for 5 families in exchange for

                            Our screened-in porch and outdoor space now

                     accommodates up to 80 people

                     Cooking facilities have been "tuned" and stretched to capacity.


Next Steps: Maintain newly constructed outdoor eating area

                     Purchase additional land where a larger Bridge facility will be constructed.


Purpose:         Make Microloans to help individuals become self-sufficient.

Cost:                      Technically, the cost has been zero. The interest rate on the loans is set to

                     cover expenses and to provide some growth in the program. 

Currently:        32 loans have been made

                              24 have been repaid, with another written off due to death of borrower


Next Steps:   Hire a manager for the microloan program.--in process

                             Implement new Grameen-based Guidelines as part of expansion.

                     Resume fund raising for program, and expand to 100 loans


Purpose:        Assist where possible in preserving Bribri culture and language.

                    Duplicate and distribute language materials as appropriate.

                    Develop and present a workshop in which 3-4 Bribri Curanderos

                    work with 10-12 MDs to bring the Bribri knowledge of medicinal

                    plants to the medical community.

Cost:                     Duplication of language and culture materials for distribution

                    costs $5 per copy, and copies have been made for distribution to

                    interested people. Language materials are available from the University

                    of Costa Rica website, but reducing them to paper and distributable CDs is


Currently:       8 copies of language materials have been made and distributed.


Next Steps:   Work with a partner interested in working with Curanderos and         

                     MDs to set up a workshop on medicinal plants and natural healing.


Purpose:         Continue learning how we can be of service by connecting with additional

                     community leaders. Interviews now in process for the Microloan Program



As of June 2013

The Bridge