Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Laetitia's Compassion Created a Community Center in Costa Rica

Pictured: CEPIA founder, Laetitia Deweer

Laetitia Deweer moved to Costa Rica when she was 23 and she began her volunteer work with PANI, a government child protection agency. While working with this organization, she noticed that children in poverty were in the streets all day, vulnerable to harm and violence. These children were not able to heal from their trauma because they were still experiencing it. Realizing this, Laetitia shifted her focus to combating the root causes of poverty by founding CEPIA (Culture, Education and Psychology for Infants and Adolescents) with her friend Lotje De Ridder. CEPIA was founded in 2005 as a non-profit organization that promotes culture, education, jobs, and health services.

Within the first week of opening the center, 50 children showed up at their doors. As more children and families were drawn to the center, Laetitia and her partners expanded their programs to address a wider range of needs, across many different communities. With the help of counselors, children now have the opportunity to open up about their trauma and begin to heal.

Pictured: Costa Rican children enjoying a CEPIA youth program.

CEPIA has grown its after school programs to include youth creatives, psychological healthcare, childcare, professional training and education, scholarships, environmental initiatives, and cultural education. CEPIA also partners with many organizations, both governmental and grassroots, to fund similar projects in additional locations in Costa Rica.

Pictured: Community members packaging food for those in need with CEPIA.

When the Covid19 pandemic began, it worsened the already harsh conditions for impoverished people. In this time of crisis, CEPIA stepped up their support for the community by providing psychological treatment to over 500 adults, and delivering 8,393 food packages between April and December 2020. The Christmas Campaign donated nearly 500 Christmas packages to families in Guanacaste. For the past 15 years, CEPIA has strengthened community bonds, spreading Laetitia’s vision of healing and devotion.

Visit CEPIA’s website, to see the long list of donors and contributors that helped push the vision forward.

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