Integral System of Artistic Training for Social Inclusion
Sifais or integral system of artistic training for social inclusion for its acronym in Spanish is a private non-profitable project that promotes self-advancement and social integration through the teaching and learning of art, sports, or trades.
We are a foundation, funded by organizations and individuals, that since 2011, provides free socio-educational services through volunteers in locations marked by economic deprivation and social exclusion.
From the different academic areas that are offered to the benefited communities -artistic, environmental, sports, technical training, languages, and music- a series of groups and projects have been generated that have empowered the communities both personally and professionally.
At the same time, a culture of goodwill has developed based on openness, solidarity, and respect.
SIFAIS started in La Carpio, but thanks to the success shown by the inclusive educational model of the foundation, we have replicated ourselves by creating different extension centers that are dedicated to periodically expanding the constructive revolution of SIFAIS.
WHAT WE DO
Music, arts, or sports are an excuse, the goal is social inclusion through:
The participant’s appreciation of their own skills.
The articulation between members that is inherent in a musical, artistic or sports group.
Awareness of how important it is to share one’s knowledge, even if it seems to be very small.
The conviction that we can always learn a lot more from others, even if they lack almost everything.
Since its start SIFAIS has shown its effectiveness as a two-way social integration tool, since socially marginalized groups have a need for support and help that is just as large as the need to give and serve by other groups, with better social and economic opportunities.
Sifais seeks to give the La Carpio people support, recognition and at the same time promote the social imperative to give, share and serve by those that are willing to do so.
In SIFAIS, technical skills are important, but the volunteer’s ability to motivate their students to persevere and improve even when their environment is holding them back is even more important. On the other hand, volunteers will discover the life changing effect that takes place when they have open and sincere interactions with the members of the community.
On the western edge of the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose, there’s an informal settlement called La Carpio. It was first occupied 25 years ago by several families, and it progressively grew, today it has more than 50,000 people most of whom are of Nicaraguan origin although the exact numbers and composition and numbers of its population are unknown.
Nicaragua is the northern neighbor of Costa Rica and for decades it has had a complicated political and economic situation that, which has caused unrest in its population that led to a huge migration towards Costa Rica.
This migration has been consistent for decades with thousands of people crossing the borders in waves during the biggest political crisis in Nicaragua to Costa Rica that has been lucky to have one of the most stable political, social, and economical situations in Latin America, which has made it the destiny for thousands of immigrants for decades. La Carpio has been the home that welcomed thousands of them.
La Carpio is a community with single access road with only one lane in each direction to communicate it with the rest of the city. It’s surrounded by two rivers and a landfill and has no vegetation whatsoever.
This community for many years has been stigmatized as a place filled with crime and poverty, but in reality, it is full of hard-working people looking for opportunities to overcome their difficulties.
WHO BENEFITS FROM SIFAIS?
In Sifais we believe that everyone ends up winning, those that learn, those that teach, those that receive as well as those that give. The children and students, their families, and the whole community benefits.
Volunteers change the way they see their lives through their experiences. It’s an opportunity for them to discover their capabilities, new ways to use their talents, improve their potential, all while they experience realities different to theirs.
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?
Everyone that wants to teach and share what they know and those that are willing to learn are welcome in the project. The only thing that SIFAIS requires is commitment with the project and willingness to follow basic guidelines required to make the program reach its full potential.
SIFAIS is specially directed to kids and teenagers, but adults may participate as well, as long as they are willing to both teach and learn.
Improve the community environment and expand opportunities for people in the beneficiary communities through free socio-educational, artistic and cultural activities taught by volunteers that promote Two-way Social Inclusion, that is, learning and social interaction between people and organizations from different sectors of the population (individuals, government and private sector).
Reduce the negative social and personal stereotypes and generate a model for a culture of volunteering work in Costa Rica through the offer of free socio-educational activities and cultural experiences in communities that require contribution of the civil society for their development and for the individual and collective empowerment.