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FundaVida Programs

Interactive Computer Centers

Students learn computer skills and develop core competencies in order to increase tech-related job opportunities.


Young people learn English through interactive programs with tutors and specialized teachers.  English proficiency greatly increases chances for employment.

Youth With Purpose

Through this program we accompany young people in their development by providing them with mentors and talks to nurture their values, personal and professional growth.


Due to the high incidence of fragmented families and abusive relationships in these communities, FundaVida offers psychological counseling to help children and adults deal with these problems.

Educational Support

FundaVida provides tutors to help kids achieve their educational goals.  Young people also have access to safe spaces with conditions conducive for studying.

Pandemic Relief

Due to the severity of the pandemic crisis, we are providing food to families who are in desperate need, and an internet connection or device to children without access to education.

Our Mission

FundaVida empowers Costa Rican at-risk youth in deeply troubled communities to break free of the destructive cycle of poverty.  Through education, counseling, technology and community we inspire children to achieve their full potential. Education is the path to a promising future devoid of violence, drugs, gangs, teenage pregnancy and prostitution.  Hope changes Everything.

Our Locations

FundaVida works in three at-risk communities near San José, Costa Rica: Concepción de Alajuelita, 25 de Julio and Linda Vista de Patarrá. In 1996, through the efforts of FundaVida’s founder Chris Dearnley, FundaVida began to reach out to young people in Concepción de Alajuelita. In the year 2000 FundaVida started in the neighborhood of 25 de Julio and in 2005 in the community of Linda Vista.

Our Values

Purpose, Hope and Freedom guide all of our core programs and inspire additional activities in FundaVida. Every year students go to serve a community poorer than their own. They gain a new perspective and learn to help others. Purpose replaces apathy. When funds are available, students attend a week-long camp, exploring their God-given purpose, the power of forgiveness and the importance of gratitude. Hope replaces despair. Through our “Women Empowering Women” talks, successful female entrepreneurs inspire the hearts and minds of young girls. Many girls, 8-12 years old, join our S.T.E.A.M Girls group (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) and find the courage to break-free from cultural norms. Freedom replaces fear.

Current and Recent Sponsors and Partners

The Problem

FundaVida is a nonprofit organization that focuses on helping and empowering young people to overcome the main problems of Costa Rican society and to break free from harmful and destructive cycles. Without intervention most children from these neighborhoods end up selling either drugs or their bodies. The statistics below reveal this sad truth.

School desertion

  • 8 out of 10 young people in high-risk areas drop out before graduating from high school. (State of Education).


  • 92% of minors in high-risk communities use drugs. (Costa Rican Institute on Drugs).
  • 2/3 of the crimes are linked to the use, distribution or trafficking of drugs.


  • The PANI (Patronato Nacional de la Infancia) estimates that there are 3000 girls involved in prostitution, most of whom started around the age of 10.
  • According to data from PANI (Patronato Nacional de la Infancia) in recent years, more than 1000 complaints have been received about cases of sexual exploitation of minors.
  • The OIJ (Judicial Investigation Agency), dismantled a network involving photographers, who were accused of producing child pornography with victims between the ages of 11 and 17.


  • In 2017, Costa Rica broke the national record for reported homicides, with 603 murders and a homicide rate of 12.1 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Changed Life Stories

Click on a picture to learn more about the life-changing impact of FundaVida


A Changed Life


A Changed Life


A Changed Life

Luis Diego

A Changed Life


A Changed Life


A Changed Life


A Changed Life


A Changed Life


A Changed Life


A Changed Life


A Changed Life


A Changed Life


A Changed Life

Years of Impact


Students Helped To Date


High School Graduation Percentage


Volunteers To Date


Students Currently Enrolled


Student Waiting List

Our Goals

Pandemic Fund -$75,000

Our most urgent funding need is to help children currently in our program. Funds will enable us maintain our connection through education, counseling and relief efforts.

Bridging the Digital Divide -$50,000

Without a device or internet connection, kids lose access to opportunity. This will provide access, and teaching to those who need it most.

Empowering S.T.E.A.M Girls- $150,000

This will help empower young girls through access to computer coding, robotics and motivational workshops.

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