Mar 31, 2015

Now the story has FACES: teens, babies, neighbors

Las Claras Center in Felipillo
Las Claras Center in Felipillo

First, THANK YOU for your donations and on-going support for The Las Claras Proyect.  A lot of great things have happened since our last report. Finally, our project is more than stats and empty walls under construction at our center in Felipillo now we have faces, people we want you to meet.

Last November, Vital Voices Panama hired an A+ team that will lead and conduct all projects at Centro Las Claras in Felipillo.  Two psychologists and one social worker joined the team lead by our Director and right away started an arduous job to build a strong curriculum in life skills, academics, psychological support, health and values that will help create strong, empowered, and highly educated young mothers that will change their communities in amazing ways.

Once certain of the intervention, the team hits the road, literally. Since January, the Las Claras team has been visiting health centers, clinics, hospitals, schools, churches, community leaders, etc., recruiting teen mothers for the program. The teens’ life stories are shocking, these young women have faced and live in deplorable situation, yet their strong sense of resilience is truly inspiring. Then you meet their babies, and you can’t stop thinking of the future they deserve. The Las Claras project will support early childhood development and help build the bond between mother and child, a bond that when strong and highly stimulated will change the future of these babies and of their community. It’s the faces that now keep us moving and inspire us every day.  

We are also new in the Felipillo community and we started meeting our new neighbors. They are warriors, constantly battling to survive. We are excited to share a space with them and that is why we hosted a party titled “Dia de Colores” for the children in the community. Clowns without Borders made more than 300 children who joined us laugh and our friends from Voces Vitales helped us with cookies and small presents for all the children. We were happy to meet our neighbors and bring laughter to our community.

Finally, we met and shared with passionate students from Texas Christian University Global Academy three days in the community of Felipillo learning about our project and learning straight from community leaders everything you need to know about Felipillo. Students captured in a video their time in Felipillo and they even interviewed teen mothers at their homes, bringing to all of you a real time view of these young mothers lives, giving you all the oportunity to meet all the faces of the project. Thank you TCU!

Remember you are also an importance FACE in this project!  Thank you for your support your continuous support in this quest for a better quality of life for teen mothers and their children. Keep donating and invite other to join us in this quest with their donation.

More faces and action still to come.  Stay tuned!

Clown show for the children in Felipillo
Clown show for the children in Felipillo
Smiles in Felipillo
Smiles in Felipillo
Las Claras Team and Volunteers
Las Claras Team and Volunteers
TCU Students with Teen Mothers
TCU Students with Teen Mothers
Baby in Hammock
Baby in Hammock

Links:

Nov 25, 2014

The start of a new journey

Daney and participants of Juanfe Foundation
Daney and participants of Juanfe Foundation

Thanks to your donations and for the confidence you have placed in our  Project Las Claras, we are very pleased to have the platform of Global Giving as a tool to communicate the impact that we will achieve in pregnant teenagers to recover their life project.

We are grateful to each of the people who donated and have believed in the project Las Claras -Thanks to You!- we will continue our Fund-raising through GlobalGiving. We still have many goals to accomplish and we need your support.

Please share with your contactsalso interested in helping to break the vicious cycle of poverty, the information about what we 're doing.

Our goal through this platform is to show the reality of 75% of pregnant teenagers in Panama and allow everyone in the world who wish to help these girls can do so through their economic contribution.

Even though teen pregnancy rates in Panama are alarming (especially in Felipillo – where “El Centro Las Claras” is located) and going against a current of ignorance, prejudice and stigmas seems like a titanic task, we started the first phase of the process to recover these young ladies life project with a lot of enthusiasm, but most importantly with your support and the support of the community, benefactors and friends.

It´s more than just statics and number for the team at Voces Vitales de Panama, everyone who works in this project does it for these girls.  We want them to recover their lost dreams and dream bigger every day. We all identify with these girls situation in some way.

This past September we visited Juan Felipe Gomez Escobar Foundation in Cartagena, Colombia, where we started a knowledge sharing process to learn the how these imitative works, original inspiration for the creation of the Las Claras Center and the programs we are determined to implement with pregnant teenagers in Felipillo.

At JUANFE, common nickname used for the this renowned Colombian foundation, we toured the facilities, observed all programs currently implemented, and participated in several workshops and seminars related to the foundations work for several days. But honestly, what was most fulfilling was the love, motivation and kindness given to us by the girls and the staff at JUANFE. It was an inspiring and invigorating experience, we returned to Panama really eagered to start our work.

Mid October, the remodeling process of the house that will be the future Centro Las Claras finally started. The house has been abandoned for more than 10 years. The land was abandoned, the foundation was there, but the design of the center needed to be redesigned from scratch, the brushwood removed and the environment cleaned. The remodeling process in a way has becomed a metaphor for the work we have set ourselves to do with the 20 girls that will be part of our 1st group.

The Center will have classrooms, a kitchen workshop, a computer workshop, a psychological therapy room, a dining room and an area to care of the babies while the girls are studying and learning. They will also receive education regarding the care and responsibility to their babies.

Only 10 days after the reconstruction started, we held a symbolic event to commemorate the start of the reconstruction process and show to the community leaders the house and to formally introduce government and our benefactors.  Curious community members also showed up to see the space and freshen themselves from the drenching heat with refreshments..

The house was open to everyone and you could see the excitement in peoples´ faces when they heard what was going to finally happen in this house so centrally located in the heart of the community.

Maybe that is why it wasn't difficult to find the team of psychologists and social workers that will accompany our girls in their new journey. They are exceptional women that love their job, who immediately identified with the project. Ivette, one of our psychologists, lives close to the community and knows the day to day of the families and girls in Felipillo. She is aware and has experience with the challenges the team might face once the project starts.

With this team leading the program and the support of a community leader, Belen, who´s been our principal link to the community. With her support, the team has had the opportunity to walk around the community, meet and talk with community members.

The team also had the opportunity to show community members the center and explain to them what the center would look like once it´s completed.

This week the psychosocial team of Las Claras is in Cartagena at The Juanfe Foundation , continuing the process of training.   The components of counseling, and education are the most important to receive our teenage mothers.

Therefore each process and content must be reviewed and implemented with a lot of discipline through our team of professionals  That is why training is essential to continue strengthening the capacity of our team.

El Centro Las Claras will open next January 2015. We'll keep you updated and we will send you periodically reports on the progress of the projects.

Stay tuned!

Reconstruction
Reconstruction
Director of Las Claras in front of the building
Director of Las Claras in front of the building
Gathering with friends, donors and local leaders
Gathering with friends, donors and local leaders
Local leaders and colaborators
Local leaders and colaborators
"Building a new life for Felipillo girls"
"Building a new life for Felipillo girls"
Floor of the Center
Floor of the Center
Map of Felipillo
Map of Felipillo
 
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