Meet the Care Fellows: Class of 2019
After an extensive selection process that spanned over a month, we received 47 inspiring applications from across Costa Rica (and even an applicant from outside the country) to participate in our inaugural Care Fellowship program. The mission of the Care Fellowship is to equip youth from coffee communities with skills, resources, and networks to build sustainable coffee projects in their communities that lead to greater gender equity. We selected the top 13 candidates, who will participate in the fellowship over the next 24 weeks. We are proud to introduce you to our fellows and their vision for their own communities:
Daniela María Casco Serracín
Region: Biolley, Puntarenas
Vision for the fellowship: Create an interactive website to share the story of her community’s coffee tourism offerings.
Daniela’s history: Daniela is 19 years old, and lived in San José for 17 years before moving back to Biolley two years ago. She is currently supporting her family with the tourists that visit the coffee farm.
What does coffee mean to Daniela: “Coffee in my community has been a source of employment and income for families, as well as the source of the idea due to which the association of women (first in Costa Rica) was founded. Before that, women were housewives and men emigrated to other provinces or countries in search of employment. They wanted to find a way to improve the living conditions of families and coffee was the best option. Thanks to ASOMOBI, in addition to coffee, we work with volunteers from other countries and with tourism, we encourage cultural exchange. ASOMOBI also provides lodging and food services. All this growth was possible thanks to coffee.”
Daniela’s mentor: Nicol Chinchilla Cordero
Juan Carlos Quirós
Region: San Luis de Morete, Pérez Zeledón
Vision for the fellowship: Building a micro processing mill to process locally produced coffee.
Juan Ca’s story: Juanca is 23 years old and works on a coffee farm while studying English.
What does coffee mean for Juan Ca: “Coffee means a way of life for me. Since our ancestors started producing coffee, it has been passed from generation to generation and with it, we have learned the whole process that is involved in the preparation of a cup of coffee.”
Juan Ca’s mentor: Marco Gonzalez
Kendy Vega Carranza
Region: Abangares, Guanacaste
Vision for fellowship: Creating a micro-processing center.
Kendy’s story: Kendy is 18 years old and was studying agronomy at the university, but due to a personal reason, she had to leave university. She wants to build a project that allows her to support her community.
What does coffee mean to Kendy: “Coffee has had a great impact on my life. Since I was a child, it has been a big part of my daily life, through its production I have learned to value and appreciate the process, although it is a difficult process.”
Kendy’s mentor: Maria Elena Rivera Garita
Laura Gómez Cordero & Viviana Gómez Cordero
Region: La Cima de Dota
Vision for the fellowship: Develop a project to bring more coffee tourism in their region.
Laura’s story: Laura is 22 years old, studies tourism, wants to develop her community by leading people to learn more about coffee.
Viviana’s story: Viviana is 20 years old, teaches violin while studying tourism, and wants to support her community through the development of a tourism initiative.
What does coffee mean to Laura: “A historical product that represents authenticity and the essence of Costa Rica. It means culture, tradition, love for our roots and who we are”.
What does coffee mean for Viviana: “It is the grain of gold, which has brought a great deal of social and economic benefit to our region of Los Santos.”
Laura and Viviana’s Mentor: Daniel Vargas Cambronero
José Mora Herrera
Region: San Carlos de Tarrazú
Jose’s story: Jose is 23 years old, a student of geology and English language. He sees the potential in coffee to develop his community and empowering the community members.
What does coffee mean for Jose: “It’s the main economic activity in my region, and it is the key to moving communities forward and empowering people, exploring and leading new projects, to get the most out of the grain, beyond grow, harvest and sell, just like that.”
Jose’s Mentor: Olman Gamboa
Alex Padilla Cerdas
Region: El Rosario de Desamparados
Vision for the fellowship: Reactivate the coffee economy of Desamparados.
Alex’s story: Alex is 25 years old and has worked as a coffee carrier, who wants to provide education about coffee to empower producers in his community.
What does coffee means to Alex: “I think it has been important for the community, but being honest, the rust disease has created a great deal of stress and pain. I believe it is important to have other sources of income to resist these problems and to ensure that producers are not drifted away from coffee production.”
Alex’s Mentor: Maria Villela
Rafael Enrique Arias Orozco
Region: San Ramón de Alajuela
Vision for fellowship: He wants to produce organic coffee in his community.
Rafael’s story: Rafa is 24 years old, he is an environmental management engineering student, and has helped his family to ensure sustainable production methods.
What does coffee mean to Rafael: “Tradition, love of work and development ”
Rafael’s Mentor: Rosa Vasquez
Vision for fellowship: She wants to create a cooperative of coffee producers.
Jacqueline’s story: Jacqueline is 28 years old, studied accounting and works in San José. Her mother is a coffee producer and sees in coffee the opportunity for development and empowerment of women.
What does coffee mean for Jacqueline: “Coffee is my life. I grew up in a coffee plantation and till the day, my house is surrounded by coffee. Thanks to coffee, I have had the opportunity to develop professionally and be the person I am today.”
Jacqueline’s Mentor: Anthony Marteen
Raquel Monge Mora And Tatiana Monge Mora
Raquel’s story: Raquel is 17 years old, is studying the International Baccalaureate in high school. She sees in coffee the opportunity to support her family.
What does coffee mean for Raquel: “Coffee is a way of life and the reason why I have managed to get ahead by gaining the economic benefits of selling coffee from my home. Coffee has also meant sacrifice and has taught me the importance of honest work.”
Tatiana’s story: Tati is 15-years-old, in her ninth year of school. Coffee is very important to her life and she cannot imagine being away from a coffee plantation.
What does coffee mean for Tatiana: “It is very important for me because I live on a coffee plantation, and love this product. I know a lot about coffee but I still want to learn more and be involved in the entire supply hain.”
Raquel and Tatiana’s Mentor: Ana Laura Mora
Flor de María Duarte Fiallos
Vision for fellowship: She wants to support coffee producers in her country of Honduras.
Flor’s story: Flor arrived in Costa Rica a few years ago, has a daughter and wants to replicate her knowledge from the fellowship in Honduras to support a group of young producers in her community.
Flor’s Mentor: Maria Paz Lobo