A downtown San José building that formerly housed the offices of the dairy cooperative Dos Pinos Tuesday became Costa Rica’s first Culture Center for Children’s and Adolescents’ Rights, according to a statement from the Child Welfare Office (PANI).
The new center was inaugurated during a ceremony attended by President Oscar Arias, PANI head Mario Víquez and the center’s director, Laura Chinchilla (no relation to the country’s Vice-President, also named Laura Chinchilla) and other officials.
After the official inauguration, organizers surprised Arias with a cake in honor of his birthday, which was Wednesday.
The new center houses an auditorium, library, training center, computer center and classrooms where activities including talks, academic conferences, international gatherings and courses for mothers and fathers will take place. It has a staff of five and is open to the public during the day, Chinchilla said.
The idea was to create a space where parents, children and community members could go to learn about children’s rights and good parenting practices, Chinchilla explained. These rights include the right to food, shelter, medical care, a loving environment and freedom from abuse.
To get the center ready for its inauguration, a group of about 225 volunteers from computer company Intel donned blue shirts with their company’s logo and showed up to paint Aug. 21 and 22.
The company encouraged its employees to volunteer on their days off and donated paint for the project, said Intel Communications Manager Raquel Gólcher.
The building’s seven expansive, highceilinged rooms were painted bright colors such as green, to symbolize change, hope and strength, and yellow, to symbolize PANI’s ideology of protecting human rights, Chinchilla said.
More than just a physical space, the center is working to “build the soul of a national culture based on respect and love that … we owe our children and adolescents,” Chinchilla added.