Meet Costa Rica’s GBV Expert, Jeacqueline Ocampo

By Beverly Goldberg

Meet Costa Rica’s GBV Expert, Jeacqueline Ocampo

HIAS Costa Rica's Gender-Based Violence Officer Jeaqueline Ocampo inside the Safe Space building in Los Chiles. February 28, 2024. (David Quijano/HIAS)

Jeacqueline Ocampo serves as the gender-based violence (GBV) program advisor for HIAS Costa Rica. In her current role, she supports refugees in Los Chiles with GBV prevention support, emergency support, and case management services. Here’s what she has to say about HIAS and her motivation for working with refugees.

Tell me more about you and how you started working for HIAS.

When I was in college, I studied to become a social worker. I started working with HIAS because I felt like values such as welcome, justice, and resilience align with my own personal and professional values, and because of their commitment to the rights of displaced people.

Who is receiving GBV support in Los Chiles?

In Los Chiles, we provide different kinds of GBV prevention and response services to women and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Here we support a lot of women who are either in Costa Rica alone or with young children and limited support networks.

What kind of techniques do you use to make GBV group workshops more interactive?

We want to ensure that we’re providing people with a safe, dynamic space where they can feel like they are learning about coping with stress and difficult emotions. We create activities that involve breathing exercises, music, dance, and art therapy to achieve these goals.

Why is our work in Los Chiles so important?

We see a lot of women here who have experienced physical violence, psychological violence, and even violence committed against children with the intent of harming the woman, also known as vicarious violence. In the border area of Los Chiles between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, there are very few organizations that are currently working with GBV survivors or people at-risk of experiencing violence. This is why our work here is so important and meaningful.

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