|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.
Visit CEPIA’s website https://cepiacostarica.org/about/, to see the long list of donors and contributors that helped push the vision forward.