Costa Rica: Albergues

Hedwig and Robert Samuel Foundation

A safe home for children

According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a state must guarantee and protect the well-being of each and every child, provided that the parents fail to do so. As a member state, Costa Rica has ratified the Convention and respects it: The situation of children in the Central American country has been particularly good for years. Nonetheless, one in every four children lives in poverty and despite a comparatively low poverty rate in Costa Rica, it is the children who suffer most from it. Children’s homes, so-called “albergues”, offer a secure environment and are an initial place to receive those Costa Rican children and adolescents whose parents cannot care for them due to their economic or social situation. The albergues provide a safe haven where they are nurtured and can simply be kids again, until a new perspective opens up, be it returning to their family, finding a foster home, being adopted, or reaching legal age.

The Samuel Foundation already decided to support children in need in Costa Rica in the early 1990s and established two children’s homes in San Isidro del General in 1991: Albergue Heinz and Albergue Günther, each with a total capacity for ten children and adolescents. Since then, the albergues hosted numerous children, who found a temporary new home, protection, care and support in a family-like environment.

The Samuel Foundation operated both children’s homes in collaboration with the Costa Rican State Agency for Child Protection PANI up until the year 2019 and provided infrastructure and staff. In the beginning of 2019, PANI assumed sole responsibility for both children’s homes. A main project for children and adolescents in need, one of the first projects of the Foundation in Costa Rica, successfully came to an end.