If you don't know Carmela, she graduated back in July and I promised to update you on her progress.
A few weeks after Carmela graduated from the CAPTA program, she worked for one month in "Las Clementinas," a Casco Antiguo hotel. For one month, she developed excellent relationships with her co-workers, superiors, as well as the hotel's frequent clients. Unfortunately, after just one month, Carmela had to quit her job.
Carmela tells us that the reason she had to leave was because she was thrown out of the place where she lived. In urban cities it is very common for gang members to take over abandoned buildings but other people such as Carmela, who have no training, employment and 4 children to look after also live in these buildings and daily take on the risk of living among gang members. Due to escalating conflicts related to the gang members who occupied the building, Carmela was faced with the decision to leave her home to better safeguard herself and her children.
Soon after she made the decision to leave, she found another abandoned building where she could live with her children; but just two weeks after, the building collapsed and she was forced once again to go back to the building she left filled with gang members.
Carmela is now looking for employment, she has applied to several places and is waiting for one to call back. "Life continues to put obstacles in my way; the difference now is that I've been through CAPTA and I know how to make better decisions." "I have learned to think first and not do the crazy things I used to do."
Even though she isn’t working, Carmela thinks about projects that she could do in her community. For example, she sought out our dance instructor for the ENLACES program which teaches at risk children modern dance and suggested a dancing project in her community with the children that live in her building. She hopes that this initiative will bring positive new activities to her community.
During December you can help Carmela by making a recurring donation to this program or to our CONEXION program. A recurring donation of only $20 will be matched by a Global Giving secret donor and you can secure Carmela the constant follow up visits she needs to succeed. We will continue to visit Carmela and help her as much as we can, but we need your continued support for this to happen.
From Fundacion Calicanto: Happy Holidays and thank you for all the support you have already given!!
The PRISMA Contemporary Dance Festival was heartfelt in Casco Viejo, Panama City and in ENLACES.
The kids had the opportunity to receive a class from Michael Foley (USA) and Omar Carrum (Mexico) from the Delfos Dance Company, whose energy was so contagious that our beloved Fernando Robles who is only 10 years old, made a special trip to see them perform at a local theater.
On October 27th, four ENLACES children participated in the International Contemporary Dance Seminar, taught by Aaron Burr of the John Jasperse Company (USA) in the Xielo studio by Gramo Dance. That same night, ENLACES students Reyes Gallardo and Jose Garrido, along with their grandmother, enjoyed performances in Panama's National Theater, put on by three different groups whose members came from Finland, Britain, Spainand Mexico. When we asked Reyes what he thought about the performance, he responded with just one word:"excellent!"
This festival was a great opportunity to bring culture into the lives of children from San Felipe and surrounding neighborhoods. We work to motivate the kids to participate in cultural activities outside of what is provided by ENLACES; in this case they were able to receive classes from the artists who participated in the PRISMA Festival. Our goal is that these cultural activities captivate the children's interests and opens the doors of possibilities; we want them to dream with a future different than what they wrongfully think they deserve.
Zunilda Conde is a 41 year old CAPTA graduate; CAPTA is training for employment through a 7 week intensive course for women offered by Fundacion Calicanto. Zunilda did not receive formal education and has spent most of her life working as a house maid. After CAPTA, she joined a group of women who have organized to take basic computer classes in Calicanto and expressed to us that her experience has enriched her life. "I always thought I was too dumb to use a computer but you have taught me how to use one and now I even have a Facebook page!"
When Zunilda, who was born in an indigenous community in Panama, arrived in Calicanto, she was shy and introverted. She had very little confidence and a low self-esteem but today she is a stronger woman and has joined this group to learn basic computer skills that will help her look for jobs and better opportunities.
This is CONEXION. It's a space for women to get together and learn from our volunteers and from each other. Keep supporting this program so that we can continue giving women like Zunilda, the right tools to escape poverty.