San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

La Carpio Students Receive Gift of Books

The public school in the western San José shantytown of La Carpio was recently treated to a wonderful reading awareness day full of special activities.

Thanks to the Costa Rican Women’s Club service committee and its commitment to libraries in schools around the country, a donation of more than 100 beautiful children’s books, purchased from Carl Dickerson, was presented to the 2,500 children attending the overcrowded, underserved, urban low-income school.

Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation (CRHF) teachers and preschoolers then presented a living book, “Stone Soup,” which is the story of a village that learned soup could be made out of a stone if everyone participated and donated something. As a followup to the story, all of the children and faculty were given a bowl of real “stone” (vegetable and meat) soup, prepared by the lunch ladies of the school sponsored by the foundation.

To motivate the kids to read more, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom donated materials for 300 children to make a laminated bookmark commemorating Earth Day and Book Week.

CRHF teachers went to the classrooms to talk about book care and to help students make their own bookmarks.

Spending an extended period of time in the school was an educational experience for all involved. It was made clear how few resources are available to the children, how much they long for quality materials and how difficult the teaching circumstances are for the teachers, each of whom struggles with more than 30 students, no materials and high-stress environmental conditions – noise, dust, dirt and no furniture. In spite of this, the children are learning, completing the Education Ministry basic requirements and getting fed a hot lunch every day.

The CRHF will be working with Carl to buy $1,000 worth of high-quality, culturally appropriate books that give a lesson to children.

The foundation plans to have a book fair at the school and will sell the books for ¢1,000 ($1.70) each. The money collected will be reinvested to buy more books to sell. So many children are asking for books, and if they are made available, La Carpio residents may begin to have books in their homes – something unheard of until now.

If you would like to help, contact Gail Nystrom at 8390-4192. Special thanks go to the Women’s Club for being the motivation for this project.

–Gail Nystrom

Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation


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