The last CAPTA group we graduated was very special; we tweaked a few things during the “fundamental cycle” and got excellent results. To begin, we decided to make an alliance with Malambo, an organization thatcould refer some girls to our program. We did not consider these alliances because the organization works in areasoutside of our focus community; however, this time we decided that opening up space for women in need outside the community could turn out to be a success. Malambo is an orphanage in Panama that rescues girls living in poverty or exposed to violence. The tendency with these orphanages is usually to shelter beneficiaries from outside danger, but they unintentionally make them dependent on a system that is meant to let them go when they reachadulthood.
Five girls came in from Malambo: they were shy, they usually coordinated to wear the same colors, one girl spoke for them all and they also had the same likes and dislikes. Slowly, our psychologist began to work on these traits and asked the class facilitators to separate them and to make them speak for themselves, exploring their individual abilities, likes and dislikes. In just 4 short weeks, the progress seen with these girls was phenomenal. Theyall walked and spoke with confidence and it was apparent that something had changed.
Following this experience, we have decided to also join forces with Divina Gracia, another orphanage hosting girls that have suffered violent crimes. These alliances are helping us change more lives, we are taking girls who need training and professional skills to survive once they leave their “homes.” We are closing a gap by educating girls that come from a different system but also need the personal attention and professional training that we can provide at no cost.
Finally, I’d like to announce that we are also celebrating a new phenomenon with our last CAPTA course: of 18 women who graduated only 2 weeks ago, 14 are currently employed! We attribute this to the changes that wemade in our program for example, treating the girls as regular students who must work hard to earn a title. The specific changes include giving them homework, making them study, having them research various topics and create projects according to what they research. These changes have produced wonderful results and we will continue to implement these with other courses.
Fundacion Calicanto had a fun filled summer program which attended to 30 kids from the area. The one-month summer program was filled with dance, theater and circus classes, as well as guest speakers and fun-filled educational trips.Our kids visited museums, theater plays, and had wonderful guest speakers that spoke about various themes like music, art, painting and even violence prevention in their neighborhoods.
The most exciting excursion was to Panama’s National Library in Parque Omar. The four story library was built in 1942 and had never been visited by any of the kids in our program. The guided tour exposed the children to historic documents and a wide array of books from Panamanian and foreign authors. Right outside this library is the recreational park “Parque Omar,” in this park you can find a gym, swimming pool, tennis, baseball, basketball and football courts and great green field to enjoy the scenery. The kids enjoyed a picnic and then went on to play and fly kites, ending our summer program with excitement!
Thanks to your support we held our first CONEXION event of the year! The BAC Panama bank sponsored a financial representative to teach our community about personal finance. It was a great seminar for this community and we were able to accommodate a very diverse group of different ages and backgrounds. All the participants were attentive andengaged in various exercises such as working on personal budgets and discussing safe and creative ways for them to earn more money when their salaries don’t cover all expenses.
As most of our beneficiaries don’t have bank accounts, the BAC representative explained the benefits of opening a savings account and also provided useful tips to save money.
From this seminar, Fundacion Calicanto was also able to recruit women for the CAPTA program and scheduled them for interviews right away. It was apparent during the seminar that these women wanted to change their lives and we look forward to having them with us for the next CAPTA (Training for Employment) course.
Thank you all for your support!