Sustainability is not just an idea for the women of Yorkin, Costa Rica. It is a guiding principle they have chosen for ensuring the well being of their families and community.
Stibrawpa is an organization of women working towards improving the lives of their families, protecting natural resources, and strengthening indigenous culture. Through years of hard work the women have developed an economy based on cultural ecotourism in the Yorkin River watershed, Costa Rica.
Stibrawpa means “Women who make Handcrafts” in native BriBri language. The society Stibrawpa has a Board of Directors made up entirely of women, but their efforts benefit their entire community. Stibrawpa has effectively saved the community’s men from working in the chemical laden banana plantations through its economic initiatives, including producing organic cocoa and other products, and has developing a thriving tourist lodge. In 2008, the organization hosted a total of 600 day and overnight visitors at the ecotourism lodge in their village.
Getting this far has been a difficult cultural struggle that began 18 years ago, but the founding women received help from the UN, ANAI and ACTUAR (Costa Rican environmental conservation organizations). The project has made their lives, and those of their children, better while simultaneously improving their land.
Stibrawpa now serves as an example for other groups and communities, about how women can take leadership roles, about how men and women can work together and respect each other’s contributions, and about how a driven, united group of people can do great things within a community.