La Casa de Refugio, or in English, The House of Refuge, which means a place of shelter, protection, or safety. La Casa de Refugio is a house right next to the government clinic in Las Salinas, which was used as a gathering place in case of emergencies. About two years ago it was donated to FIMRC to start our Pediatric Program. The name is only fitting, the space has become a place of safety and the new home for FIMRC. We have spent the past two years working out of the government health post building up our connections in Las Salinas and making our name known in the community, however we were also taking up space that was needed there, using supplies that were needed there, and having our supplies unfortunately go missing at times.
After about a week of working hard cleaning and organizing with the CEO of FIMRC, Meredith, we have officially opened the Casa De Refugio. Now, FIMRC has a home and a place to call our own, where we feel safe and where the people of the community can come and feel safe as well. It is amazing to see the programs we are doing here expand and now with our own space we are able to be so much more productive and have space to run more programs.
We now have our own working Pediatric Clinic twice a week when the Pediatrician comes in from Rivas with our own pharmacy supplied by donations and bought medications. Monday mornings we are continuing to run the developmental center, where we have a regular group of about 6-7 kids who have a major developmental delays. There is one family of three children aged 6, 8, and 12 who are all in the first grade together because they keep failing. These kids don’t know their colors, numbers, letters, or shapes, which has become the main focus of the developmental center. We have changed the focus from early stimulation to a supplement of “school” having a set organized schedule including “circle time” as if it were a preschool. We have seen an enormous improvement in the kids once we started with an organized time. The kids are excited to be in “circle time,” the kids are more focused throughout the hour of the program, and the kids have improved their ability to draw, write, and color as well as remember colors, shapes, and numbers. We focus on one color, shape, and number a month to ensure that they learn with repetition of the same thing. As the schools here are full with 30-40 kids in one classroom, the kids with developmental delays get left behind, which is why our program is so important and will hopefully continue to be beneficial. We have also started a prenatal program, seeing as there are around 200 pregnant women all within the age group of 13-40. We have worked on having a birthing plan, seeing as the hospital is one hour away in car and an hour and a half in bus. They had to figure out if they go into labor in the middle of the night how they would get to the hospital, what money they need to save to be able to get to the hospital, what they need to bring, etc. We also have done different teaching sessions on what to expect in labor, nutrition and excercise during pregnancy, what to expect during your pregnancy, and warning signs of when you should go to the clinic or hospital. We have four women that come on a regular basis and are so excited to have this group to come to and share their experiences with one another. We have also started a teen group, which may be are largest group where teens come once a week and talk about different topics, do team building activities, and play games together. It is great to see how we are impacting the community and how we as an organization as a whole are becoming more apart of the community.
A place of safety, shelter, and protection. That is exactly what we want to bring to the community and with La Casa de Refugio, we are able to provide that. Thank you Las Salinas for letting us be apart of the community and giving us the space to do so!