Children’s Well-Being Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) registered not-for profit organization providing medical care for the underprivileged in Costa Rica. The Foundation offers free medical, psychological, eye exams, and dental care to children and adolescents from communities with limited access to health services.
Throughout his medical career, Founder and President Dr. George Whitelaw has spent time volunteering and providing care in Burma, Nepal, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Ukraine, and Costa Rica.
During this time, Dr. Whitelaw was contacted by the parents of a young girl. Paulette was from Costa Rica, just 9 years old. She had been diagnosed with a flesh eating bacteria and told by her doctors that she should “go home and make her peace with God.” Her parents asked Dr. Whitelaw for help. They didn't believe that their daughter was meant to die this young. He worked with the family and did everything he could to get her to the United States for the surgeries that she desperately needed. It took nine months and she almost died in the process. Because of this situation, Dr. Whitelaw knew he wanted to help more children and change the system. The Children’s Well-Being Foundation was born.
Why Costa Rica?
Costa Rica’s public health insurance system is available to all legal residents and citizens. But with a number of citizens who live in impoverished areas, those who don’t know how to work the system, and immigrants, who are not eligible, there are still too many people who do not receive care. With the support of the socialized medical system, the Children’s Well-Being Foundation is able to provide medication and specialized care, if needed.
Under our business model, the Children's Well-Being Foundation consults with the local government to figure out where the "gaps" are in their system and then works with them to fill those gaps. By coordinating with local authorities and other organizations, our operations are truly efficient in meeting the needs of the Costa Rican people.
The Children’s Well-Being Foundation is making a significant difference in Costa Rica – we are providing health care to thousands of children who otherwise would have fallen through the cracks of their healthcare system. We provide primary care services, dental care, eye exams, and psychological services. We work with local and international partners to ensure the sustainability of the clinics and training opportunities for future doctors who are encouraged to pursue medical volunteerism.
The clinic in Guanacaste, which has recently closed, has treated 13,824 children and reached more than 6,000 through various health campaigns and community outreach. We are now operating in San Jose and surrounding communities and hope to increase these numbers.