For the last year, I worked as a Community Economic Development Volunteer with the Peace Corps in Costa Rica, in a small, agricultural community right off the central pacific coast. I had the opportunity to work closely with the local development organization in assessing the community needs and defining project goals, which is how we decided on forming a women’s association in order to establish additional revenue streams and job opportunities specifically for women. This amazing group of twelve women came together to dedicate their time and effort to weekly meetings, where we held project design and management workshops in order to write and send off an application to receive a grant from the non-profit, Bricks to Bread, which was started by a Costa Rica RPCV.
Since B2B accepted our application, we had been doing weekly Women’s Entrepreneurship and Empowerment courses in order to prepare the group in developing their business. This group of women has spent the better part of the past year planning, raising money, requesting donations, and engaging in relevant trainings. All of our work was supposed to come to fruition this July when the organization, Bricks to Bread, had planned to come to the community to support us in building a large brick oven and the shop locale. However, due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, the build has been postponed and Peace Corps volunteers were evacuated, effectively halting our projects.
Bricks to Bread has three other active projects with Peace Corps Costa Rica volunteers, the first of which was supposed to be built the first week of April. The organization has lost thousands of dollars on deposits for lodging meant for the volunteers that were going to come to that community, and have also struggled with fundraising for the remaining projects. My community as well as the others are all lacking funds to complete their ovens on their own, which is why this organization is so meaningful. The Costa Rican people have treated us as family, and I plan on doing whatever I can to continue to support my community and ensure their project is realized. Let’s see what we can do to make sure the hard work of the Peace Corps Volunteers and their communities doesn't fall by the wayside. The foundations for these projects have been put in place. We just need to raise the money to see them through! Please donate if you are able, and share with your friends. Thank you! Pura Vida.