Casa de la Alegría

Every year during the Costa Rican coffee harvest, over 15,000 Panamanians from the Ngäbe-Buglé indigenous tribes cross the border to work as coffee pickers. For cultural reasons and for security reasons, children accompany their parents during work activities on coffee plantations.

The Casa de la Alegría project offers a legal and practical solution to this problem by offering infant care centers, both from the point of view of health and education, contributing financial support to families and above all, a safe place where the children can be looked after while their parents are at work.

Since education is an important aspect of the project, as well as a fundamental pillar of the Ernesto Illy Foundation and of illycaffè’s approach to sustainability, the financial contribution of the Ernesto Illy Foundation was dedicated to the training and hiring of teachers, who take care of the educational program of the “casa” (1 teacher for 4 “casas”) during the harvest season, educational material and food for the houses.

In 2021, 6 structured were opened that welcomed a total of 414 of minors. Two teachers offered an educational service in all the structures in turns with the purpose of stimulating the development of motor and cognitive skills suitable for every age.

In 2021, thanks to the support of the Fondazione Ernesto Illy, specific didactical material for the blind was also introduced to permit a 9-year old girl who had never had access to any educational service as well as materials and tools linked to the function of the kitchens inside the structures and informatic tools to improve the identification of the welcomed minors that often arrive without an identity card or adequate documents.

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