Pueblito was started in 1974 when a group of passionate Canadians teamed up to contribute to a better life for children in Latin America. Led by Peter Taçon, the group founded a children’s village in Costa Rica, which served as an alternative model to government orphanages and offered street children the chance to grow up in a family environment. The name of this first project, called Pueblito after the Spanish word for “little village,” became the name of the organization as it continued to grow. The Costa Rican government officially took over full responsibility of the village in 1989 and it still exists today. Pueblito spent the next 25 years supporting vibrant community initiatives in Latin America and gained experience providing a wide variety of development programs for children. In 2014, Pueblito celebrated its 40th anniversary and embarked on an exciting new path with Casa Canadiense.
Casa Canadiense was founded in 1992 by a group of Canadian educators who were inspired by their contact with the Nicaraguan people during the 1980s. The founders purchased a house in Managua, Nicaragua in 1992 from the Scarboro Foreign Mission and from there the work began. Since its founding, Casa has worked with communities and local organizations on projects ranging from building schools and wells, to providing dental care and undertaking collective art projects. Over the years, Casa has advocated for Canadians to understand social justice and poverty issues. Today, it continues to work towards a more just and equal world with the Nicaraguan people.
OUR SHARED FUTURE
Pueblito and Casa have worked together on a variety of projects since the 1990s. From 2007-2010 Casa and Pueblito executed a Preschool Lunch program, shared a staff person, and shared an office. We have considered ourselves Sister Organizations, sharing resources, expertise, and have supported each other’s programming since 2006. In November 2014, after over one year of discussion, negotiation and preparation, we officially amalgamated into one organization, Casa - Pueblito. So far our union has been an overwhelmingly positive move for both organizations. We have increased our capacities in Toronto and in Managua, invested in improving our program model and key partnerships, increased our financial stability, and ultimately, we are better able serve communities, children, and youth. Our projects reflect the shared values of Casa Canadiense and Pueblito Canada, and we look forward to improving educational opportunities for children and youth in Latin America as well as within Canada. Our shared vision is already breathing new energy into our programming and we are seeing positive results for those we serve.