On February 10, 2010, a 7th-11th grade school was opened for students from San Rafael and the surrounding communities. A census taken by ADE indicates a 90% dropout rate after 6th grade for members of the region. ADE’s intention is to offer a high-quality, bilingual education so more students choose to continue their education and develop into community leaders. As payment for the first month of education, all students were required to volunteer 16 hours of service to refurbish the school. This initiative was designed so students can take real ownership over their school.
Because ADE cares about the health of the community, a garden initiative has begun in May of 2010. Two different gardens will be planted near Casa Shalom. The first will be a model home garden meant to create dialogue with the community and generate interest in gardening at home. The second will contain cash crops and unique vegetables to be sold to vendors and restaurants, establishing income for the ADE secondary school. Jardín de Esperanza will create interest in gardening and improve nutrition through consuming fresh, homegrown fruits and vegetables.
ADE is raising money for the construction of a small vacation cabin in San Rafael de Vara Blanca, Costa Rica. The cabin will be rented out throughout the year to provide a sustainable source of income to fund a local high school currently operated by ADE. ADE is committed to serving the community of San Rafael de Vara Blanca in a sustainable fashion. In this vein, ADE is offering interested individuals or families the opportunity to contribute $700 for the construction of this vacation cabin in return for a free week-long stay (or $100/night).
After the earthquake, the local store closed and was never reopened. Currently, locals must travel by taxi and bus to the city of Alajuela to purchase many foods. ADE will establish and manage a small grocery store to save local community members expensive trips to the city, create jobs, and provide a small source of income for the school. Initial feedback from the community suggests such a store will be received favorably. While initially this store will be managed by ADE, it is our hope to gradually transfer ownership of the store to the community as a whole.