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Costa Rica is a country in Central America with beautiful destinations. Even though Costa Rica is known for its volcanoes, beaches, and waterfalls, they have many social and economical problems. One of the main problems in Costa Rica is poverty and giving children the best environment to grow and learn. Costa Rica’s population is at 4.9 million and 26 percent are under the age of 14. Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, holds around 333,000 people and lots of them are in poverty. Ten percent of people in Costa Rica struggle to make a living and some even make less than two dollars a day. Even though Costa Rica has programs that help children grow in good conditions, they still have low access to care and education. 36,000 children in Costa Rica are orphans and may end up on the terrible, crime-filled streets. In these conditions, child prostitution, drug abuse, and gang violence can become a part of their lives.
Poverty in Costa Rica is a very large issue, especially in rural areas. One out of four families lives below the poverty line and 20 percent of the population are affected. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was ratified in Costa Rica in 1991. The CRC advises non-discrimination, the best interest of a child, the right to survival, life, and development, and respect for children. Since lots of families fail to respect the CRC, children are exposed to a low access of water, unhealthy diets, and poor education.
Costa Rica’s medical care has improved over the years and is available to all citizens. Even though Costa Rica has good medical, ten percent of children die before the age of five. Usually these victims are from poor families. HIV is another severe problem in Costa Rica. Even though HIV isn’t recorded among children, it is still one of the highest in Central America. 0.4 percent of the population is affected by HIV.
Education for children in Costa Rica is free and mandatory but most kids still don’t get a formal education. 280,000, or about eight percent, of children are not educated. Nine percent of boys aged between 5 to 14 work instead of going to school to support their families. They work in agriculture and sell merchandise in the streets of cities. Teachers work with the kids to be able to buy educational materials during the coffee harvest.
Child labor is a major problem in Costa Rica. Producing coffee is a major industry in Costa Rica. Children are used to gather coffee husks. Five percent of children from the age 5 to 14 perform economic activity and some of the children don’t have a choice. They work in order to buy clothes and school supplies. This work increases the children’s chances of catching illness and getting hurt. Another major problem is violence against children, which is the most serious social problem. Children are suffering from their own homes to their school. Three of the main problems to the young are physical, psychological, and sexual violence. 700 or more cases of sexual violence have been reported and there have probably been more not reported.
Child trafficking has become a huge issue in Costa Rica. Child trafficking is a crime that exploits children for purposes such as forced labor and sex. An average of 26 people are victims of human trafficking in Costa Rica a year. The victims mostly live on the streets. The children are used as sexual objects and are vulnerable. They aren’t aware of the situation and of their heath. Programs need to be drastically improved to help protect these children.
Children are the next generation to take care of our world and if they are not raised right then the world is in danger. Poverty, poor education, and inequality are major challenges that need to be fixed in the Costa Rican area to give the children a good environment to grow up in. All children should be provided with well taught education to be able to do well in the harsh world.
Costa Rica does have a high level of investment in education, however they still have an exposed public education system. Violence, high rates of school abandonment, little liability from teachers/educators, and only reaching eight percent of gross domestic product contributes to the poor education system. A major factor that effects whether a child gets a good quality education is their homes. 42 percent of children up to the age of six in Costa Rica live in homes with guardians that have less than six years of schooling. Of that 42 percent, 60 percent live in poverty. It is shown than children are less likely to graduate high school when their parents have a low income because of their lack of education. Many people between the age of 17 and 21 drop out of high school either because of poverty, dissatisfaction, the contribute to the school, and educators.
Education is the start to a firm foundation in a child’s life but many other factors can influence that child’s life also. Child labor forces children to work in an environment that can be very harmful to their physical and mental health. Children in Costa Rica everyday are being forced to work in fields and construction. Another form of labor is commercial sexual exploitation, which is a result to human trafficking. This is the worst kind of labor affecting every single victim traumatically. All these examples affect a child’s life and do not give children a safe, healthy environment to grow and become influential people in our world.
Costa Rica has many organizations and fundraisers for children but the SOS Children’s Villages is an organization that helps thousands of Costa Rican children and families. There are currently three villages, a Youth Facility, Training Centre, and Social Centre, in Costa Rica. The SOS Children’s Villages allows children without parents to be able to live in a loving, welcoming home. Mothers are trained properly look after these children and give them the life they deserve.
The problems in Costa Rica today are very large but there is always a solution. Kids in Costa Rica can be provided with the right living conditions like children in other countries. Spreading the word about the children and their needs in Costa Rica is a step to helping the kids’ lives. Once the problem is addressed, more organizations can be set up to raise money for kids in poverty. The money can be used to help schools and provide them with the best educators.
Allowing more job opportunities to parents to support their families would help greatly. This would keep children from being forced to work instead of getting an education. It would also keep families off the streets and into safe homes which can prevent human trafficking. Children with no family that live on the streets and are exposed to drugs and violence can be helped by creating more organizations that allow them to be placed into homes where they could have parents that would love and care for them.
Costa Rica is a beautiful country with lots of social and economical problems. Over 20 percent of Costa Rican people are in poverty including children. Children are not provided with safe surroundings to learn and grow. They are being forced to work, some providing for their families at home. Children are living in the streets being exposed to violence and drugs. Costa Rica has some organizations that help these children but they still need much more. Children are the next generation and should be well-taught, healthy, and safe in their own community.
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