Five kilometers outside of San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, approximately 12,500 Nicaraguan refugees and impoverished Costa Rican citizens settled outside of central Alajuelita (“Little Alajuela”). The majority of this population, comprised largely of women and their children, is medically uninsured.
Alajuelita is a small town located just 5km from the heart of San Jose, Costa Rica's capital city. The town is marked by three distinct rivers, Río Tribí, Río Cañas and Río Poás.
Natural disasters, political conflict and lack of economic opportunity have led to a large number of Nicaraguan immigrants to settle in the area. Without access to the national healthcare system, refugees seek out our clinic to receive treatment and psychological services.
We started here back in 2003. We learned as we went. We opened our new clinic and launched the FIMRC model. We now live and breathe healthcare in the area and implement programs and services based on the actual, current needs.
Ongoing operations throughout the year give us a pulse on the community and those we serve. We participate in activities and work among families in Alajuelita, San Felipe and the surrounding areas. With the support of our volunteers, we dedicate our resources to three main areas of focus: clinical activities, health education and special initiatives. Below are a few examples of our work at Project Alajuelita.
- Primary care services
- Psychological services
- Pharmacy operations
- Patient health education in waiting room
- Preventative healthcare education
- Community health campaigns
- Women's empowerment group
- Community health campaigns
All of our volunteers contribute to on-site initiatives at Project Alajuelita. Your efforts allow us to expand our reach and better serve the community and its residents. Whether you're giving a health education session to the kids in the soup kitchen, working up a sweat with mothers to teach them about a healthy lifestyle, or spending the afternoon taking vital signs in our clinic, we tailor the volunteer program around on-going outreach, clinical needs as well as psychological services.
All volunteers have the opportunity to participate in both the clinical and health education aspects of operations on-site, and activities can range from working with our psychologist using art therapy to leading interactive health education sessions with our teen group.
Over the course of your trip you'll receive an unfiltered experience in health care field work abroad, and learn about the tremendous impact that even one person can have. At our end, so as to maximize your contribution, we will tailor your experience based on current needs, your interests, training, and amount of time that you spend with us on-site in Alajuelita.
Curious about the logistics of volunteering? Click below for more information on flights, activities, accommodations, transportation, trip cost, and more!
"My experience in Costa Rica was unforgettable and I enjoyed every moment of it. I would like to do another FIMRC trip sometime in the future."
- Jennifer P.