Costa Rica (Days 3 & 4): Local, National, and International Responses

Days 3 and 4:  During the past two days, our group had the opportunity to examine children’s rights issues and responses at the local, national, and international level.  At the grassroots level, we spent each morning in a different local community learning about the lives, challenges, and hopes of people in two largely immigrant squatter communities.  We are grateful to the communities and to the two organizations we visited – Boy with a Ball and the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation. The site visits also gave us opportunities to think about both how design thinking would apply in practice and how the law and lawyers might be able to support marginalized communities and help foster positive outcomes for children and their families.

We also met with a lawyer at PANI (the national child welfare agency) and representatives from the International Organization for Migration and UNICEF and learned about the role that national and international agencies play in addressing and securing children’s rights.

“Visiting the two squatter communities and hearing from organizers who work within these communities has helped me to reflect on what true success is, in law school and life. As law students, we are conditioned to focus on our grades, awards, rankings, and titles – as they are what matter in life and what truly define our success. This experience puts the pressures of law school and life in perspective and reminds me to measure my success not by my accomplishments but in the amount of lives I can touch.” – Jobena Hill (JD candidate GSU Law)

“It is important to understand why children and adolescents fall through the cracks. When you understand that, you can do meaningful work.” – Gordon Jonathan Lewis, Country Director, UNICEF Costa Rica

Our heartfelt thanks to the communities and organizations we visited. It is an understatement to say we learned so much. For more information about the communities and organizations and their work, see below.

Boy with a Ball

Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation.

PANI

IOM Regional Office for Central and North America and the Caribbean

UNICEF Costa Rica

 

 Visit to PANI, with our PANI sponges (part of a public awareness campaign ... because kids absorb everything)

Visit to PANI, with our PANI sponges (part of a public awareness campaign ... because kids absorb everything)

 A view from the edge of one of the communities we visited

A view from the edge of one of the communities we visited

 Our group with the UNICEF team

Our group with the UNICEF team