The Need »

Maternal health is closely linked to newborn survival. While great strides have been made in reducing global maternal and infant, newborns still account for 44% of all childhood deaths. Each year, 2.9 million newborns needlessly die within their first month and an additional 2.6 million are stillborn. The main causes of death, which are preventable and treatable, are complications due to pre-maturity, complications during delivery, and infection.

They matter.

Because of the lack of access to medical services and harsh living conditions, the Cabecar population suffers infant and maternal mortality rates nearly 5 times higher than the rest of the Costa Rican population. Common illnesses which mean a trip to the emergency room in developed areas can quickly become life threatening in the remote mountains of the reserve. Without a place to stay during a hospitalization, many families delay seeking help until the situation is grave, or even worse, until it is too late.

Our Impact »


Who We Are:

The St. Francis Emmaus Center is located in Turrialba, Costa Rica, the nearest city to the Chirripo indigenous reservation. The center, modeled off the internationally-lauded model of "pregnancy waiting homes", provides a safe, comfortable place for up to 30 Cabecar mothers, who must journey long hours on foot to have access to medical care, in the days before and after the birth of a child or in the event of the hospitalization of a child. 


What We Do:

Mothers and children are offered housing, nutritional meals, access to all services of Costa Rica's internationally-acclaimed government health care system, and advocacy to ensure full comprehension and completion of medical requirements. In addition women are offered childbirth education and the accompaniment of a trained doula during labor and birth, support in initiating successful lactation, education and advocacy for early bonding, and increased recovery time before returning to their homes long walking distances from access to medical care. 


In the mission to save lives, the St. Francis Emmaus Center makes a difference. With over 400 mothers and children passing through the center annually, the success of the initiative has been lauded by numerous government agencies, including the local hospital and health system and the national committee for indigenous affairs, we received remarkable news and a letter from the director of medicine in Turrialba, Costa Rica that St. Bryce Missions played a major part in the reduction of infant mortality in the indigenous reserve by 50%.

In addition to these priority services, the St. Francis Emmaus Center has become an instrumental collaborator with local medical personnel in managing the care of medically fragile children born to indigenous families. Previously, if these children were in need of access of medical care on a constant basis and unable to live in their family's village in reserve territory, the only option was for the child to remain in a state-run home for the duration of the required care. With the St. Francis Emmaus Center as a new option, families are able to remain intact while children still receive the care they need. These are their stories.


When you make a donation to the St. Francis Emmaus Center, you are providing a safe place for moms to access the health care they need, nutritious meals for them and their children daily, a trusted advocate by their side, and support and education for a healthier, brighter future for them and their little ones. $15 provides one meal a day for the moms and children we are serving. $25 keeps the beds made. $100 keeps the lights on for a month. We'll be the hands and feet for your generous heart, and we promise, lives will be better for your help. 

Hey guys this is our pregnancy hostel Casa San Franciso where we take care of 500 women plus children a year.