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Repurpose with Purpose: Empowering Women in Costa Rica with CATIE


Southwest Airlines is excited to welcome the Tropical Agricultural and Higher Education Center (CATIE) to the Repurpose with Purpose family!


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Headquartered in Turrialba, Costa Rica, with 13 member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, CATIE aims to promote a route to achieve Inclusive Green Development, through the construction of human capital, and institutional strengthening for research, development, and external projection.


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The mission of CATIE aligns with our focus to do well, by doing good—making their work a perfect match for our Repurpose with Purpose initiative. Repurpose with Purpose is a global sustainability initiative that upcycles items such as leather seat covers and transforms them into new products. Southwest partners with organizations, like CATIE, to reimagine thousands of pounds of materials every year, diverting them from landfills. Since 2016, we’ve donated more than $1.3 million dollars in grants and 1.4 million pounds of leather to provide employment, skills training, and other social benefits for our Communities. 


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Costa Rica has a very diverse set of people but there is a very large population of rural Costa Ricans, especially women, who are without access to resources or work. Through leather and cash grants from Southwest, this program will provide these women support, gaining knowledge and skills to not only craft beautiful products made from the upcycled leather, but also how to market the products in order to generate economic impact for their families and community.

In 2021, Southwest delivered its first shipment of 6,000 leather seat covers to CATIE with the first workshop taking place in March of this year. While these amazing products aren’t available for sale quite yet, check out this website to learn more about CATIE’s work.


We look forward to expanding our partnership with CATIE to inspire and empower women across Costa Rica!