What is ADE?
ADE, or the Association for Development through Education, is a small non-profit dedicated to serving the villages of San Rafael and the surrounding communities in rural Costa Rica, about one hour north of the capital of San Jose. Specifically, ADE is working to support educational initiatives for community members of all ages.
ADE strives to completely immerse itself into the community it is serving so that the members of San Rafael view the ADE team as ‘locals,’ despite different backgrounds. ADE’s goal is to follow servant leadership principles to inspire and support local community members, both spiritually and educationally. The desire is to help develop these local individuals to serve both their communities and eventually be sent to serve other areas of the world.
Unlike many other non-profit organizations, ADE does not seek financial support. ADE believes both the local community and itself are resource rich and can offer their local assets to the global community. This method allows for self-sufficiency and sustainability rather than reliance upon outside funding, enabling the community and ADE to provide for themselves.
ADE Local Initiatives:
- On February 10, 2010, a 7th-11th grade school was opened for students from San Rafael and the surrounding communities. A census taken by ADE indicates a 90% dropout rate after 6th grade for members of the region. ADE’s intention is to offer a high-quality, bilingual education so more students choose to continue their education and develop into community leaders. As payment for the first month of education, all students were required to volunteer 16 hours of service to refurbish the school. This initiative was designed so students can take real ownership and pride over their school.
ADE Cooperative Store- After the earthquake, the local store closed and was never reopened. Currently, locals must travel by taxi and bus to the city of Alajuela to purchase many foods. ADE will establish and manage a small grocery store to save local community members expensive trips to the city, create jobs, and provide a small source of income for the school. Initial feedback from the community suggests such a store will be received favorably. While initially this store will be managed by ADE, it is our hope to gradually transfer ownership of the store to the community as a whole.
ADE Adult Education-Local adults constantly request ways to further their education, as almost all have less than a 7th grade education. ADE is working to offer English, computer courses, and other practical instruction for the adults in these local communities. Additionally, ADE is planning to create the first local public library.
Other Initiatives- ADE is organizing an inter-village soccer league, as children and adults currently have few opportunities for organized outdoor education and activities, despite their abundant surroundings.