Cornerstone Foundation is a Belize-based nonprofit which promotes community development , individual empowerment and community mobilization.
Approximately 33% of the population of Belize lives in poverty. Education is free, but families are expected to cover the costs of registration fees, books, supplies, and compulsory uniforms. As a result , families often cannot afford to send their children to primary school, let alone the more expensive high schools. The cycle of poverty is therefore difficult to break and a good portion of the population suffers from issues such as illiteracy and inadequate healthcare.
Cornerstone Foundation provides communities in Belize with the following programs:
- Women’s program and projects: these programs focus on benefiting the community as a whole by targeting women. They educate and empower women and address issues such as inadequate education and vocational skills, financial dependency, lack of knowledge of family planning and domestic violence.
- Health programs and projects: though the government provides general health care and basic pharmaceuticals, government services for most major medical issues are very minimal. Cornerstone Foundation seeks to positively impact the local communities by providing nutritional education and addressing the issues of inadequate hygienic facilities in schools, poverty and hunger and inadequate medical services, particularly for the disabled.
- HIV/AIDS program and projects: Belize is one of the Central American countries most affected by AIDS. As much as 3 percent of the adult population suffers from HIV/AIDS. Therefore this is an issue on which the Cornerstone Foundation focuses.
- Relief and aid program and projects: the Cornerstone Foundation provides school children, the elderly and disabled persons with food. In response to natural disasters such as hurricanes, the foundation provides clothing, food and other necessities to those who need them most.
- Literacy program and projects: functional literacy in Belize is about 40%. Cornerstone Foundation works to address the multiple contributing factors including: the associated costs of a free education (registration fees, books, supplies, uniforms); the gender preference given to males in terms of access to education; the lack of special education facilities and educators leading to lack of education for handicapped or disabled children; inadequately trained educators; and language barriers created by the fact that English is the official language of Belize but a second language in most households.
- Community service program and projects: these projects provide groups of six or more with opportunities to work together for the benefit of the community on a range of projects, from painting a school to beautifying a park to facilitating a clinic. Cornerstone Foundation provides these groups with supplies and equipment, project coordination and transport.
To learn more about the Cornerstone Foundation and how you can volunteer, click here.
* This organization is not a certified 501(c)(3). However it is registered as a nonprofit organization with the Solicitor General’s office and a Non-Governmental Organization with the Ministry of Human Development.