Aug 28, 2017

Finishing the first semester...

The focus of this period was creating connections between all of our participants. In total we have 24 participants divided in three groups from different orphanages, so we did activities where all of them participated.

There are various objectives to this. Networking, new experiences that would help them create friendships for lifetime, understanding that there are more people in similar or worse situations than each one of them, and to expose them to different social situations where they need to apply skills that we have been promoting for the last 7 months.

We did workshop in an orphanage for young girls that were abused and with children, we had a touching workshop about values and forgiveness, we visited the Bio Museum to learn more about the geography of Panamá, we strengthened the subject of sexual education, etc.  But the peak of this period has been our two day seminar, Potenciate, where we tried to raise awareness about social responsibility and how our actions have an effect on the society. One of the most impactful subjects was positivity through uncertainty where we tried to encourage our participants not to be afraid of the future and outcomes they don't know. Not to be afraid to take uncertain decisions because that will make them proactive instead of reactive decision maker. 

Of course the fun part of the seminar was celebrating the end of the first semester. We celebrated on the beach playing team building games, football, volleyball and we had an opportunity to teach them something basic but really important, how to swim. All of the participants finished the first semester, some with better grades, others with average, but there were none dropouts.

As an organization we already knew how it is to work with institucionalized youth, but this semester was full of new learnings about working with youth that on top of all of the usual deficiencies (lack of resilience, aspirations and others) have different cultural beliefs.

Each orphanage/shelter homes that we work with has different characteristics and this was just a reminder that we need to stay open-minded and flexible to be able to give the best chance to all of the participants, no matter from what environment they come from.

Thank you once again for being part of this help and learn process


Your TaV team


May 30, 2017

Getting to know our participantes better

Luz Adriana, 19 years old, infirmary student.
Luz Adriana, 19 years old, infirmary student.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

Lao Tzu

This small paragraph explains well our efforts in the last two months. We have been trying to raise awareness about the importance of self-reflection and getting to know who am I.

Our participants have received 30h module of workshops focusing on: Self-awareness, Self-esteem, Self-respect, Self-care, what are and how to have healthy relationships. Last, but not the least important, how to love themselves.

A part of the workshops the participants are receiving mentoring, english classes for which we give a special thanks to our excellent and fun teacher , sessions with the psychologist and individual follow up with the program coordinator.

In this period of time we have witnessed that introspection is hard and forever ongoing process, but it is also a right path to acceptance and happiness.

Each saturday we have noticed raised interest about the mentioned topics through stronger commitment and better connection with the participants. Our biggest blessing is Adelina, a girl who entered the program with just a couple of weeks pregnant, with no awareness what it means to be a mom, with no wish to be a mom and with a lots of regrets that she would never say out loud.
We cannot say Adelina is fully ready to be a mom, but we can see that now she smiles when she talks about and to her baby. She has accepted her situation and on top of that she has started to really love her daughter which is a crucial step to break the cycle of another child in orphanage.

The next step is to empower Adelina and other participants to actually start believing that they can and will be independent, resilient and happy individuals.

And how will we do it? A Little bit more of workshops and then with the most fun and powerful tool; theater!

Stay tuned for our new experiences and once again thank you for supporting us.

Your TaV Team

Our little group with great potential
Our little group with great potential
Meeting participants from other orphanages
Meeting participants from other orphanages
Feb 27, 2017

Our first two months

Training the facilitators
Training the facilitators

"Incredible how child trauma affects your whole life" commented Kathy, one of the facilitators on our seminar Train the Trainer. We spent a whole day teaching why the girls we work with, have so many issues with self-esteem and low resilience, why are they afraid to open up and trust, why are they so shy but most important, tecniques how to approach, work with them and what to expect.

In previous years our experiences showed that participants connect better with younger facilitators so we formed a group of facilitators age range 25-33 years old. All of them have experience in facilitating, coaching, social work and last but not the least important, high motivation to help our participants in their personal development. 

Our program started in January as individual sessions with each participant where we started to create connections, understand them, get to know their fears, hopes and aspirations. We used this as a guidance to prioritize their area of developement, individual work plan for the mentoring program and to make a match with their future mentors which they will start to work with from March. 

Group workshops started with get to know each other activities where we showed, through interactive games, how to work in a team, why good communication and honesty is important and how much our program can help them, if they open up and participate proactively.  

So far we covered subjects as how to manage their own finances, how to open and manage a bank account, write a CV and motivational letter. Since they started university in January we also covered subjects as effective learning, understanding learning styles and how to make the transition from school, small classrooms for girls to an environment where they are souranded with many students, different background and gender.

One of the most crucial periods where the girls meet biggest challenges are happining right now. For the first time they are exposed to a life where decisions are not made for them, where no one knows their name neither their past so they cannot play the role of victim in difficult situations, they have to face problems and be resilient. 

So far all the five girls that started university passed the first subject and enrolled in the second one. The other girls that are in their last year of school are preparing their mindset for studying harder and for making a big decision they will have to take; where to go after leaving the orphanage and what to choose as their future profession.

Even though this might be one of the most difficult phases it is one of the most beautiful also, and we have the chance to witness it and to participate in the transformation where these girls start becoming women and where they actually meet real life, real challenges and the satisfacion of overcoming them.

Thank you for contributing to this beautiful transition. 

All the best from Lucija and Patricia.

Learning to work as a team and to communicate
Learning to work as a team and to communicate
Emelania, 18 years old, studies human resources.
Emelania, 18 years old, studies human resources.
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