Academia Internacional Para Niñas

International Center for Girls

Making a difference one girl at a time at our International Center for Girls

Peace through Yoga Foundation’s International Center for Girls’  mission is to enrich, educate, and empower girls in the rural area of Carbón I and the surrounding community in Costa Rica.   Our vision is for the Costa Rican girls will grow up to be smart, poised and confident. Our hope is for each girl to reach their full intellectual and earning potential so that they are economically self-sufficient and can assume leadership positions in communities.

The International Center for Girls offers English classes offered by a trained native English speaker, a sewing and business skills program, art and music activities, life skills workshops on topics such as conflict resolution, mindful movement and health initiatives, guest speakers, and educational field trips. Individuals who participate in our one week retreats to Costa Rica spend a day with the girls doing educational activities.

Why Girls?
Helping to shape confident, informed young women helps them to take a path in their lives that is both productive and healthy. By redirecting negativity and non-opportunity and give them choices on achieving their personal and professional goals, recognizing their importance in society, the home and in leadership.

Why English?
Carbón is a community 5 kilometers away from the town of Puerto Viejo and 15 kilometers away from Cahuita, two of the most popular tourist destinations in the province of Limón, Costa Rica. Other than agriculture, the economy is based on jobs available in the tourism industry of the nearby towns, jobs in hotels or restaurants or as a taxi driver, all jobs requiring some level of English.

The school system in the entirety of Costa Rica requires English to be taught in high schools, but not in elementary schools, so when students make the transition from elementary to high school and a certain level of English is expected, many of the students fall behind. This is the case in the community of Carbón, and since a large reason for not graduating high school is the inability to pass the English part of the graduation test, preparing the students early is extremely necessary.

Why Sewing?
The implementation of a revenue project, specifically sewing, was requested by the community. This is a career opportunity for girls and women in the community. This program will teach not only how to create different items using sewing machines but will also teach them business skills through a series of workshops.

Sewing machines were brought in January 2015 to be used by the class and taught by a community member, and a Peace Corps volunteer working in the area hosts workshops using Junior Achievement materials to teach business and personal finance skills. This combination of learning will enable the girls to not only make the product but to make it a viable method of income in the future.

Why Art and Music?
Art and music will be used as a way to reinforce the English learned in other sessions as well as a way to expand creativity. Creativity and critical thinking are extremely important in the working world and everyday life, which is why this center will focus on helping community members learn to “think outside of the box.”

Why Life Skills Workshops?
Though subjects such as math, social studies and religion are studied in the local elementary schools, common life skills are not. The skills that will be covered include but are not limited to conflict resolution, business and personal etiquette, goal-setting, keys to business and personal success, environmental health, cooking and team-building activities.

The workshops held at the International Center for Girls will strive to encourage the values of respect and dignity and encouraging dialogue between individuals and within communities, namely the community of Carbón 1. Values covered in each workshop will be the importance of self-development and the necessity to give back to one’s community.

Why Health Initiatives and Mindful Movement?
Obesity, hypertension, and diabetes are the top three health problems in the community of Carbón 1 and those surrounding. These communities also have the recurring issue of teenage pregnancy and lack of sexual health education. This center hopes to offer education on these issues to the community, focusing on women, of common prevention practices including workshops on sexual health, pregnancy prevention, nutrition, mental health and exercise.

As an addition to exercise education, the center will offer mindful movement classes at least one times per week for thirty minutes. This provides community members with a way to release stress and improve their physical health. The practice of mindful movement makes the body strong and flexible as well as improves the functioning of the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and hormonal systems. It helps with emotional stability and clarity of mind. The ultimate aim is one of self-development and self-realization.

Why Educational Field Trips?
Due to the economic standing of families in the community of Carbón 1, many children are not afforded many experiences outside of their community. This initiative will offer them not only the opportunity to see and learn new things but also inspire them personally and professionally, presenting them with options they may not have known they had.

Examples of these trips include visits to local establishments such as legal and medical offices, resorts, non-government organizations focusing on the environment and social issues. Other options are cookouts on the beach, ice cream in town, and local adventure programs. All these activities would focus on practicing and perfecting behaviors learned in workshops mentioned

Each year will culminate in a weekend trip to San Jose, the nation’s capital, for those who meet an overall percentage of attendance (approximately 80%) that year. Activities in this trip would include visits to top city sights such as the National Theater, the Children’s Museum, and a movie in the most high-end mall in the country. This will not only provide the girls with an experience they may not have otherwise gotten, but also a tangible award for hard work and the motivation to continue doing so.

Requirements

  1. Program Participation
    1. Girls must maintain a 60% attendance rate including both program days and English classes to continue participating. This is due to the inevitability of slowing class progress, which is unfair for students with moderate and high attendance.
      1. If later than 15 minutes to a session, girl is welcome to attend, but it will not count towards attendance percentage.
    2. All participants and their families are required to help maintain the property and center as requested by the El Yue organization.
      1. The 1st Saturday of the month will be reserved for this work which will last between 1 and 4 hours.
        1. This work can be done in one of the following three ways:
          1. Parent or family member of student works on set day
          2. Parent or family member of student sends replacement works on set day
          3. Parent or family member of student sends 5 thousand colones for El Yue to hire other laborer
  2. Field Trips
    1. 80% attendance rate for the month prior to a field trip is required to participate in said field trip.
    2. 80% attendance rate throughout the year is required to participate in the year-end field trip to San Jose.
  3. Certificates
    1. Certificates will be awarded to students based on academic progression and attendance throughout the year.
  4. High School Scholarships
    1. Individual $500 scholarships will be given upon Elementary School graduation to any girl who has an overall attendance average of 75% for all years she has been involved in the program.
    2. With approved level of achievement, to be decided each year, girls will receive this scholarship yearly.
      1. Girls receiving scholarships are obligated to give the El Yüe International Center for Peace a copy of their grade report for each reporting period.
  5. Parent Incentives
    1. Quarterly award ceremonies for parents and students
      1. The parents of any student maintaining 80% attendance during a quarter will receive a prize.
        1. Ex: $25 gift certificate for any restaurant in Puerto Viejo, spa treatment, tour
      2. Quarterly meeting to announce these individuals and celebrate the achievements of the group as a whole.
        1. Smaller prizes will be given at the meetings for various activities.

Future Program Possibilities

  • Computer skills training
  • Professionally-designed sewing revenue project
  • Partnership with organizations such as Peace University
  • Addition of new books to library

Sponsorship Program
The girls write their sponsors two to four times a year. This is done by email through our English teacher. Return replies can also be done by email. Small gifts, though totally optional, can be sent on one of our three group trips each year. We encourage our sponsors to travel with us, if they so choose, and not only meet the girls, but to participate in the entire rainforest experience.

The goal is to have a sponsor for each of our 16 girls. It is a $500 annual commitment with the hope the sponsor intends to commit to “their girl” through elementary school and high school. It is imperative that we strive for the girls to go to high school as this is not always a given in the community. For one, it costs approximately $500 to go to high school and the parents simply do not have the funds.

Please consider supporting one of these girls for $500 a year. This will cover the girl’s books, uniforms, and partial tuition. Each girl looks forward to corresponding with their sponsor periodically. You can choose to support one girl for a year or, hopefully, consider sponsoring “your girl” long-term. Below are other donation needs.

Current Needs:

  • $500 a year to sponsor one of the 16 girls
  • $300 for a sewing machine
  • $150 for a bike for a student to get to school. Currently they walk for miles and/or do not attend many days.
  • $150 for a field trip
  • $90 for a month toward sewing teacher/$1080 a year
  • Any “general fund” amount given is greatly appreciated to assist with teachers’ salaries, rent, and utilities
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Donate

To donate, please mail checks to:
Peace through Yoga Foundation, 575 S. Main Street, Zionsville, IN 46077 with a note indicating for Costa Rica.

100% of all donations go directly to support the programs in Costa Rica.

COSTA RICA RETREATS – Yoga/Adventure/Service

Yoga, Adventure, and Service
October 28 – November 4 2017
with Sally Brown Bassett
and Helene Russell
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Yoga, Adventure, and Service
February 10-17, 2018
Information coming soon!
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For more information, contact Susie Morwick, PTY Foundation’s Reservation Manager, at susie.morwick@traveldimensions.com or 317-544-8391.

HISTORY OF PROJECT

Peace through Yoga Foundation began supporting the Carbon #1 Elementary School in 2008. PTYF raised funds to construct a new ceiling, re-wire the previously dangerous electrical system, install a well, plant trees, refurbish tables and chairs, donate text books and school materials, build a new sign, re-paint the walls, stock the kitchen with cooking supplies, and offer annual fluoride treatments.

In 2011 Peace through Yoga formed a partnership with the Asociación de Familias Productoras El Yüe. El Yüe is a United Nations funded community center located in the small farming community of Carbon #1, Talamanca, Costa Rica.

Peace through Yoga Foundation started a Library and English Center on the property. A teacher was hired in 2011 to create an English program for the children of Carbon #1 and Hone Creek– a critical skill all Ticos need to learn in order to succeed in Costa Rico’s thriving tourism based economy. A sustainable program has been created for the children of the area through building rapport with the community and providing a safe and welcoming environment at the center.

Peace through Yoga Foundation also funds high school scholarships for Carbon 1 graduates and purchases uniforms for the students. The Library currently has approximately 800 books.

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Peace through Yoga’s History in Carbon I

Peace through Yoga has repeatedly brought groups who volunteer at the Library and English Center and implement activities and projects, such as:

  • Delivering English books (approximately 800 to-date)
  • Teaching English and educational modules
  • Providing needed school supplies, backpacks, uniforms, and clothes
  • Implementing dental/fluoride treatments
  • Purchasing new bicycles for the local children who couldn’t get to the center and/or to school
  • Giving yoga classes
  • Taking children on field trips (animal rescue center, cooking classes, surfing lessons, etc.)
  • Providing sports activities, soccer uniforms and equipment
  • Hosting holiday parties, including Valentine’s Day, Easter and Halloween

We are proud of this important additional education program the Peace through Yoga Foundation has been created for the children of the area. And yet, the educational needs of the Carbon I children continue to go undeserved. While all Costa Rico children are afforded a free public education from grade 1 to 12, numerous children are unable to persist and succeed in the public educational institutions. Often, families need their children to stay home to help the family earn money. Some schools lack properly trained teacher who can effectively teach the children. And for girls, there is an ingrained tendency to discount the value of their education, by their parents and teachers.

International Center for Girls
In 2014 we renamed the complex to International Center for Girls.  Our emphasis changed to support 16 selected girls through scholarships. Our program offers English classes offered by a trained native English speaker, a sewing and business skills program, art and music activities, life skills workshops on topics such as conflict resolution, mindful movement and health initiatives, and educational field trips.

The implementation of a revenue project, specifically sewing, was requested by the community. This is a career opportunity for girls and women in the community. This program teaches not only how to create different items using sewing machines but also teaches them business skills through a series of workshops.

Art and music are used as a way to reinforce the English learned in other sessions as well as a way to expand creativity. Creativity and critical thinking are extremely important in the working world and everyday life, which is why this center focuses on helping community members learn to “think outside of the box.”

The workshops held at the International Center for Peace strives to encourage the values of respect and dignity and encouraging dialogue between individuals and within communities, namely the community of Carbón 1. Values covered in each workshop are the importance of self-development and the necessity to give back to one’s community.

Obesity, hypertension, and diabetes are the top three health problems in the community of Carbón 1 and those surrounding. These communities also have the recurring issue of teenage pregnancy and lack of sexual health education. This center offesr education on these issues to the community, focusing on women, of common prevention practices including workshops on sexual health, pregnancy prevention, nutrition, mental health and exercise.

Due to the economic standing of families in the community of Carbón 1, many children are not afforded many experiences outside of their community. Our field trips offer them not only the opportunity to see and learn new things but also inspire them personally and professionally, presenting them with options they may not have known they had.


costa-rica-500x350-bannerphoto4

Costa Rica Retreats with Yoga, Adventure and Service

traveling with a purpose

Join our annual one-week humanitarian, yoga and adventure trip to Costa Rica from June 4-11, 2016. Earn a 16-hour Yoga through Christ™ teaching certification and enjoy a wide variety of activities, including zip-lining or horseback riding, swimming, hiking, yoga, visiting an animal rescue center, an optional river rafting and a day of service.

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