"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
— Chinese Proverb
When it comes to education, the Costa Rican government has the best of intentions—which include the provision of meals for all students. In the rural village of San Francisco de Penas Blancas, however, good intentions aren't enough to put food on the table. After allocating funds for other civic needs, there is rarely enough left to feed the 183 students of the San Francisco School.
Grand Circle Foundation has been partnering with the San Francisco School since 2003. In 2006, we saw an opportunity to solve the school's meal problem for good, while benefiting the entire community of San Francisco de Penas Blancas. Under the leadership of Wolfgang Brunner, our Regional General Manager of Latin America, a parcel of land adjacent to the school was purchased to create a microfarm.
According to the school's principal, Eulin Chacon, the farm has already made a tremendous difference. Not only does it feed every student breakfast, lunch, and sometimes even dinner, but it also impacts the entire community with its surplus food supply and lifelong lessons in sustainable agriculture. "It's a dream come true," Eulin says. "It's the best legacy for future generations." But there is still work to be done.
The final phase of our microfarm project includes future plans for electrical equipment, a fish pond, livestock, and more. When complete, the microfarm will be fully equipped to sustain the community for generations to come—and in Costa Rica, this means more than just providing sustenance. It also means that children will learn how to succeed in a society that relies heavily on agriculture.
As Eulin Chacon says, "I want my school to become a small piece of heaven where children come to learn and enjoy, and I want students who lack love and food at home to be able to find it here." Your help brings us one step closer to helping Eulin realize her vision.
To learn how we're progressing at the San Francisco School, please read our latest fundraising update.