Ciudad Quesada, 27.09.2010. Jasmin from Switzerland works at the “Hogar La Esperanza” which provides temporary home for young boys who cannot to live with their families anymore. At the moment 9 boys between 10 and 14 are living at the shelter. Some of them have been victims of domestic violence, others suffered sexual abuse or were just “thrown out” by their parents, and the mother of one boy emigrated, leaving her child behind.
The main goal of the “Hogar de Esperanza” is to give the boys a temporary home, hoping that at some point they can return with their parents or live with other family members. Therefore the psychologist not only gives support to the boys, but also works with their families. In theory, none of the boys should spend more than six months at the shelter before moving on to a new permanent home, but often they have to stay much longer.
Unfortunately, for some of the boys it isn’t possible to return to live with their families at all. In theses cases, the “Hogar” tries to give the boys the opportunity to stay even until finishing high school, if they want and need to. For example just a few weeks ago a twenty year-old guy moved out of the shelter who lived there for 7 years. However, because at the moment they have limited space, only a few youths can stay longer than half a year and some have to move to another shelter.
The shelter is maintained by a local association with a little financial support, by the “Patronato Nacional de la Infancia” (PANI), the public institution in charge of the supervision of all shelters in Costa Rica as well as the general protection of children and youth. However, at the moment the shelter depends on donations more than ever because they just finished the building of a small house which will become a computer room for the children, where they will provide one computer for each child. Donations also help to organize excursions during the holidays, for example going fishing or visit a Fiesta in Ciudad Cesada. Fortunately, there are also a lot of local volunteers who are willing to help the project and donate games for the children for example.Jasmin supports the four “tías” (“aunts”) who work in the shelter. In turns of two or three days they cook for the children, help them with their homework, play with them and provide affection and emotional support. “Some of the boys are really glad to be at the shelter (for example the ones who suffered domestic violence) and they are really interested, dedicated and well-behaved. Others miss their home and their families and don´t want to live at the shelter, especially those who were abandoned by their family and often don´t really understand why.” Because of all these emotions and difficult experiences, sometimes it can be tough working with the kids. For example, last week one boy had an outburst of fury and destroyed a photo wall. So work is not always easy for Jasmin, but likes to be with the children nonetheless and hopes to be able to give them a little bit of assistance in their search for new lives.
ACI - GROWING BEYOND YOUR FRONTIERS