Dear friends, we have some news to give you since our last report regarding the CAPTA Pilot in Colon: we have graduated 26 women in Colon; 81% of them completed the course with high levels of leadership and a 65% with a significant improvement in their self-esteem. Eleven percent of the women started working after the course and 56% of them are seeking employment, mainly in supermarkets and in the customer service industry.
One of our graduates shares her story . . .
Yanina is a 37 year-old, single mother of three; she lives in Colon and heard about our training program while she was unemployed and paying for her family’s basic needs through informal jobs. The variety of classes that make up the CAPTA program really motived her to enroll in the course, from basic life skills to a technical training at one of the best hotel schools in the country. Yanina likes to learn new things and because education is so important to her she was one of the first students to get a scholarship in Colon.
“We are worthy” she said, “if you want to become someone you have to be prepared for what life brings you” that is why she invites all women who are in the same position as her to join the program.
For Yanina, one of the most notable changes in her life was the relationship with her children. “I wasn't listening to them" she says, in turn this was emotionally pushing her away from her children. The Family Relations class helped Yanina change her communication style with her children, making up for all the years she was absent from them. “For example, when we sit at the table, they ask me about my day and I ask about theirs, our communication is better now” she adds, “As a single mother I have to be a role model for them”.
She believes that CAPTA can make major changes in Colon, “the program has a lot to offer to women like me who were self-conscious and insecure; often times when we get stepped on by men, we are afraid to go on by ourselves and afraid to fail. With this course, I learned that you have to work hard if you want to succeed, so “I dare those women who are afraid and self-conscious like I was, to join CAPTA because the course is amazing and they will love it!” concludes Yanina.
Executive Director, Dalys Rodriguez, says that “in every tear and every smile we see genuine change in the lives of each of these women… Together we are changing Colon”.
You can see the full video in Spanish on the following link: CAPTA Women Testimonial.
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It's been a tremendous last few months here at Esperanza San Felipe. Between bringing on Margaret (our new full time Energizer battery) and preparing big new alliances and partnerships with individuals and corporations that think differently, we are full-speed assuring that Casco Viejo's marginalized young men have real opportunities to integrate and permanetly thrive. Here are some specific victories from the last few months worth sharing:
Once A Hustler, Always...
When Esperanza graduate Alexis of Servicios Elektron Handyman (see photo below) began running a program that would pay for neighborhood clean-up projects using donated second-hands gifts, we thought that was pretty cool. But upon being featured in CC-TV America's mini documentary, Alexis realized his concept has touristic potential too. With the assistance of a famed Panamanian, Alexis will offer a 1 hour tour of the Buenas Obras system (including the community store, his house, several project sites). He will be offering his tour to Esperanza supporters over the next few weeks (no fixed fee, donations only) so please call him to reserve your spot: 6886-5591. The tour is totally fascinating and Alexis is one of Esperanza's most deserving beneficiaries.
You Support, We Deliver!
One of our community's more incredible success stories is Samuel and his company Delivery del Casco (see photo below), a convenience service in the historic district. This coming month, Samuel is on track to make his final payment on the seed capital loan that he received from Esperanza Social Venture Club and this will make him a true pioneer in our eyes: the first graduate to pass through each phase of Esperanza and rise to the very top. In true trailblazing fashion, Samuel also just signed an agreement with El Rey Supermarket for the exclusive rights to all their Casco deliveries. We are so thrilled to support prototypes like Samuel: if anyone with experience in small business would like to help support Samuel's next business move, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. If you'd like to support by using Samuel's Delivery, simply give him a call: 6344-1812
Esperanza In The Press
We are always honored to be mentioned in different press outlets and have the pleasure of sharing with you a few from the past month:
As always, it goes without saying, your support is arguably the most unique thing that Esperanza has going for it: a group of alternative thinkers around the world who believe in solving our own problems in innovative ways. Thank you from the bottom of our community.
We finished this year’s Panamanian summer very energized and began Enlaces’ 2016 course in mid March with many surprises and intense activities.
In March, as part of Panama City’s arts and creative industries festival MacroFest 2016, Enlaces received the INNOVA award in the Category of Social Impact through the Arts. As part of the festival’s program our top student Juan presented a solo in front of more than 500 people.
Following this great pep, three of our children were casted in “Las Mariposas Ya no Viven Aquí” (Butterflies no longer live here), a local production that has traveled to Guatemala, Costa Rica and Miami since 2014, promoting through dance the message of Tolerance and Fraternity by staging the Jewish Holocaust and its impact in our modern society. The cast consisted of 96 professional and non-professional dancers, who were directed by the renowned Spanish choreographer Fernando Hurtado. Our selected children assisted to intense daily rehearsals for a month, and were able to participate in educational workshops by the international organization Yad Vashem about the Holocaust and the consequences of indifference. There were four presentations between April 5 and 6, to whom more than 10,000 people assisted. The rest of our children also received workshops and talks about this subject by Yad Vashem, assisted to the theatre to see their peers and received a special dance workshop by Fernando Hurtado.
After the rush of a very successful production, one of our students received an invitation to represent Panama in the XXth Summit of Dance Schools and Academies of Central America held in Managua, Nicaragua, on April 29th, as part of the celebrations of the International Day of Dance, where dance students from Central America and Mexico presented their work. Our 15 year-old student Juan, traveled to this Central American country for the first time, and aside from taking ballet, jazz, modern and folklore classes with renowned teachers, he presented a solo in the magnificent Theatre Ruben Darío of Managua.
It has been a very exciting “First Act” for 2016, and we are very happy we have started the year with events that promote and recognize the talent of our students in national and international stages, help them build their artistic curriculum and nurture their dance experience.
*The names in this report have been changed to respect the privacy of our benecifiaries.