Global Partnerships – A sphere of common interest

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Construction of a new girls home at Roblaealto
Our second day in Costa Rica brought us to Robleatlo.http://www.roblealto.org/  It was established in 1932.  I was joined by Tim Pickell (POP Treasurer), Hubert (local pastor), and Pamela (International Director, Roblealto).

We honestly were not expecting to see a work that was this efficient during our time in Costa Rica.  Roblealto accepts kids from some of the most difficult environments.  One in particular is called Los Guidos.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0Mk3FsIbgc We were told that there are single moms who have to go to work to provide food for their families and they end up locking their kids in their slum hut to protect them.  Roblealto helps kids like these and those without parents to have a safe place to eat and be educated while their parent is working (Community Centers/ “Foster” homes on campus).  So, not only are they assisting those without parents, but also those in such deplorable situations that they have no other place to turn.

Pamela, International Director showing her personal touch with the kids

When we toured the campus which was located high up in the mountains, we were able to see the new school that was partially funded by the government and partially by their financial contributors.  The government is so impressed with Roblealto that they offered to pay for a few extra rooms.  Simply put, they are getting it done.  And, everywhere we went, they had 5 or 6 values (Biblical Principles) on the wall to remind the kids how to act.  We saw it in action as the kids “practiced” their good manners and cordial exchange with us.

New school for kids with an amazing story of God’s provision

There were different orphan works in the week we visited that we (El Camino church & Patch Our Planet) realized needed our help. There were others like Roblealto that we knew we needed theirs.  So, as far as partnerships go in that country, we are going to lean on the wonderful leaders of Roblealto to help us know how to effectively and holistically care for the orphan.

They currently have local churches coming to help with AWANA during the week.  They also have amazing “Foster Parents” (eventhough there is no actual Foster System there in CR) who are passionate about these kids.  The father goes off to work and the mother stays at home to care for the kids.  There is also a farm on site that brings in $ that helps them cover all of their administrative costs.  It had all the elements that we wanted to see.  Sustainability.  Holistic care for the child and the parent.  Church involvement.  International Values such as respect, generosity….all rooted in the Bible.

Visiting one of the Foster Homes on the campus

The stories that we heard were, of course, heartbreaking.  But, Roblealto is doing something about it.  They have even begun an Alumni program for the kids who have “aged out”.
14 million kids age out of the orphan system each year in our world and have no place to turn.

We could not have been more encouraged coming out of our visit here.  We realized that there are many organizations that need immediate help and other organizations, like Roblealto, who will be able to help us maximize our impact in caring for orphans in Costa Rica through a network of church partners.  All in all, it was a very successful day because we made a new partner who has been down the road before us and can give us wisdom to avoid the major pitfalls of orphan care.  And, at the same time, they taught us a lot about the government system and how they are set up and what actually happens in government care. 

There is a ground swell in Costa Rica that I believe will be an example for those of us in other countries in the very near future!

Let the Church rise,

Steve Gillis
Founder/Exec. Dir., POP
www.patchourplanet.org

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