Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama

by Fundacion Calicanto
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Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
Fight Poverty: Educate Women in Panama
The CAPTA women at their graduation ceremony
The CAPTA women at their graduation ceremony

CAPTA 51’s ending, a graduation ceremony, Tertulias Humanas, new alliances… so much has happened these past few months. Let me get you up to speed.

 

Let’s start with CAPTA 51.

These past couple months, we focused on our CAPTA program through the following activities:

-18 classes as diverse as theater, entrepreneurship, ethics, work law... amongst others,

-A family day to celebrate the 500 years of Panama City’s existence,

-An academic excursion at the informatics company DELL, where the girls got a tour of the facilities, information about the vision, mission and objectives of the organization and the opportunities of employment, as well as classes like job search, work interview and success story,

-A Vocational Day, where our beneficiaries took an orientation test to guide them towards the best professional path for each and every one of them,

-A talk about work expectations with renowned chef Mario Castrellón and the head of Human Resources for the American Trade Hotel,

-Regular health visits and getting the group their health cards via an alliance with Santa Ana’s health center

-Restaurant Classes: the basics of table etiquette and waitressing,

-Cooking classes

-A certification in first aid via our 3 day-course in partnership with the Red Cross.

In preparation for it all, we made an alliance with the UTP (Technological University of Panama), and as part of it, the CAPTA women received informatics classes during the last week of August in a mobile unit located within their campus. Teaching our 19 beneficiaries, many of whom had never used a computer before, how to use one as well as the basics of Word and email.

Finally, to complete their training, we divided the group and assigned each woman to a restaurant for a week. These internships allowed them to experience firsthand the skills required on a job in the fields related to what they’d learned.

 

 The graduation ceremony

On the 3rd of October, we completed this chapter in our beneficiaries’ lives with their graduation ceremony. This was the culmination of their efforts. For the occasion, everyone was there: families, friends, teachers, donors, the board of directors. It was a beautiful ceremony that took place at the International Canal Museum across the street. The event started by an introductory speech by our host, Alexandra Smith, which was followed by the entrance of the graduates and a few words from Hildegard Vasquez, the president of Fundación Calicanto. After this, the graduates participated in a “Ceremonia de la Vela” (or Candle Ceremony), where they took turns holding a lit candle and saying what they were grateful for and what they wished for themselves and their families. It was a very sensitive and emotional moment where the women shared their experiences and growth with those present in the room. Following this, we did “a look back on CAPTA 51” through a video documentary recapping the activities, experiences and feelings of the girls during the process.

Then began the award part. It started with special recognition diplomas for 2 teachers: Luis Montero (espiritu emprendedor) and Ana Gutierrez (English), which were delivered by Nefthaly Montenegro, director of the CAPTA program. Next up were the special category awards for 6 of the CAPTA program women, presented by Belkis Valencia and Cristina Silva, CAPTA psychologists and teachers. These awarded responsibility, positive attitude, personal image, participation, proactivity, and best intership. Rounding this up, were 2 announcements for “perfect smile packages” by Clinica Ford, an allied dental clinic.

It was about then that the most emotional part of the ceremony began. Alejandrina, the valedictorian of the program came up to the podium to give a really moving and inspiring speech about her life story, the reason she got into the program in the first place, the experiences she had while being there and how it changed her. Here are some extracts:

“When my daughter was asked, she insistently asked for a job for me. She said "a gift can be broken , but with a job, my mom could do and give so much more.””

“I went to the Foundation because I really needed it, I am a single mother and to date unemployed. Working was my greatest need at the time, I felt sad and insecure.”

“But in the CAPTA Program I have found much more than a job, I have found myself, I have realized that I am a hardworking, intelligent and capable woman. A woman who has known how to overcome and go on despite the tears. “

“My classmates agree with me that our days in the Foundation will forever mark our lives positively, from our experiences in classes to our vocational practice, there have been lessons that will always remain in our minds and hearts.”

“It will not be easy, especially when you have to decide to leave the care of your children to other people, learn how to manage what little you have and leave your comfort zone, but it’s not impossible if you make an effort. YOU CAN DO IT GIRLS ...”

 

Then came the part everyone was waiting for: the awarding of the diplomas. One by one, the girls went up on stage, in front of their friends and family, as well as the team that saw them grow. There, they received, one after the other, the 4 diplomas of the course:fundamental cycle, vocational cycle (kitchen assistant certification), customer service (ft. talent training) and basic informatics (ft. UTP) while applause rang around them. A group photo of all the girls, teachers and members of the foundation marked the closure of this beautiful experience.

 

 Tertulias Humanas

On Wednesday, September 11, we lived a night full of emotions where 30 people were transformed into Human Stories and shared their life experiences with the more than 150 attendees to the event.

It was a night where stories and listeners opened up to new ideas and made genuine connections through conversations so diverse that each table was a completely different adventure.

That night, we celebrated being human; we celebrated being different and stripped ourselves of labels, allowing emotions to flow.

It was an unforgettable night where members of the foundation, volunteers and our Stories did their best to make our event a success.

This event was only the beginning of a new stage for the Foundation, where we are looking forward for the Tertulias to reach more people and generate lasting changes in our society.

Tertulias Humanas is an event created by Fundación Calicanto, which, through different formats, seeks to challenge stereotypes, connect people and foster a more inclusive society.

 

 Alliances

But august wasn’t just about CAPTA 51, it was also about new alliances and allies: The Club 20-30, which donated diapers for the beneficiaries’ kids, and the INAMU (or National Women’s Institute) who became our ally through an official signing ceremony held at their headquarters on the 7th.

CAPTA 51's valedictorian delivers a speech
CAPTA 51's valedictorian delivers a speech
One of the graduates shares her story at Tertulias
One of the graduates shares her story at Tertulias
The foundation's president and the head of INAMU
The foundation's president and the head of INAMU
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Meet this year's CAPTA women
Meet this year's CAPTA women

After months of planning and redesigning, CAPTA 51 has finally started.

This time, 20 extraordinary women answered the call of this journey to help them discover and empower themselves for the next 9 weeks. Women of all ages, from 18 to 53, and from all over the city have been coming to our little classroom every day, from 9 am to 4 pm, to learn everything they possibly can from our teachers and volunteers.

Being in that room feels like a boost of energy, the will to improve and the disposition these girls have is contagious. Their struggles however, are very real, but whenever they decide to share them, their classmates are there to give them support and motivation. They relate to each other, in a way families do, and even if it’s only been a couple weeks, you can feel the friendships forming and the girls coming out of their shells.

Already, we can see some results. Girls that are usually quiet and timid are starting to voice their opinions and participate in class. New stories are emerging, of fairer family dynamics, of new ways of raising their kids, of dreams yet to be accomplished. Already, they are starting to perceive themselves in a different way : strong, capable, worthy. They’re realizing what is good for them and what is not, learning to speak up and understand their feelings, boosting their self-confidence and fostering their leadership potential.

Seeing such a transformation is a beautiful thing, and it’s all thanks to you.

The women open up and share their stories
The women open up and share their stories
In groups, the girls prepare a short sketch
In groups, the girls prepare a short sketch
The girls attend CAPTA's health fair with our team
The girls attend CAPTA's health fair with our team

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With the young musicians of Danilo Perez
With the young musicians of Danilo Perez

So we are at the end of June.

Pride has come, taken its stand, and gone, but the lessons it brought in its marches and flags need to stay with us. Things like equality, respect, acceptance and opportunity are values to be treasured, upholded and put into practice into everything we do.

As a foundation, especially one such as we are, they are in a way our northern star. The things towards which we strive every day. They inform everything we do, from our direction choices to our program’s contents, and they are exactly what we want to provide for the women that go though our programs.

During this month, we did our part in spreading those values as an ongoing effort in 2019, working through programs parallel to CAPTA with private companies, governmental entities and other NGOs.

Working for equality, we focused on giving workshops and classes to empower people and employees through that spectrum. We finished the « Skills for Life » training with the young musicians of the Danilo Perez Foundation, we completed the first self-confidence module with the buisnesspeople at Pedersen (a company that distributes gourmet products) and we trained 300 people from the administrative personel of the Education Ministry (Meduca) of Panamá Oeste in the ways of laughter therapy.

Respect is a two-way street and we proved it by showing it in a tour of the Museum of Freedom and Human Rights and then it being shown to us through the official recognition of Calicanto as a strategic ally by the panamenian NGO Aldeas SOS.

This month, we also helped set the foundations for a better understanding of our country’s situation and the reality we live in, through being a part in the creation of the Human Development Report Panama 2019 alongside the PNUD, as well as being present during its launch. In doing so, we hope to foster better acceptance and tolerance for the realities experienced by socially vulnerable communities.

Finally, we created opportunities. Teaching LGBTQI+ activists the full potential of the digital resources they have access to and how to harness them to make a lasting impact ; as well as giving a group of our graduates the chance to show their skills at the celebration of the Day of the Italian Republic held at that country’s embassy on June 2nd.

Pride might be over, but to us, its lessons and values live on, feeding the change we try to make in the communities we work with and beyond. Now more than ever, they are in our mind, as we prepare to debut or new and improved CAPTA program this July. We promise to keep you updated.

Laughter therapy training with Meduca
Laughter therapy training with Meduca
Recognition as a strategic ally by Aldeas SOS
Recognition as a strategic ally by Aldeas SOS
Human Development Report Panama 2019 launch
Human Development Report Panama 2019 launch
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Teenagers participating in one of the workshops
Teenagers participating in one of the workshops

This year, at Fundación Calicanto, we decided to broaden our horizons, and focused on working with communities, local organizations and companies towards empowering women, people and marginalized groups in the city of Panamá.

In order to do that, between the months of February and April we kept busy, creating and teaching 7 workshops, talks and lectures across a spectrum of organizations, communities and companies.

We started in february, with a series of team building workshops for teenagers living with HIV, in partnership with the AID for AIDS foundation, as well as another one for orphan and at risk kids, as a joint effort with Aldeas SOS.

In march, we went a little further, teaching communities in Verazcruz and Santa Ana a Self-Confidence induction and full-on workshop. We also educated Collaborators and Employers in the skills for work module our graduates go through, and gave Female Empowerment talks to Fossil employees.

In april, we continued our empowerment journey, this time via qualifiations for young musicians of the Danilo Perez Foundation on life projects and lectures about female empowerment at ARIFA (a panamenian law firm).

Looking forward, we hope to continue our work, reaching new communities and creating change wherever we can. We’re not planning to stop anytime soon, and we hope you’ll continue giving us your support, so we can keep transforming lives together.

In the meantime, we’re happy to announce that we’re organizing everything for our next CAPTA in July. We’re sure that, with the help of the alliances we have made with other ONGs , we’ll have a wide spectrum of beneficiaries for this program.

Activity at the Guillermo Endara
Activity at the Guillermo Endara
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Ingrid on her graduation day.
Ingrid on her graduation day.

March has just gone by, and in honor of Women’s history month, we look back at some of the women we have empowered so far, the lives they’ve made for themselves and those they have made for the people around them.

Such is the case of Ingrid, a graduate of 2018’s program, that left the course with a completely different mindset and a newfound respect for herself: “Right now we’re taking a step forward, and starting the carreer, because the time has come to get out there and work, with a different and optimistic outlook, focused on flourishing and improving our quality of life from the inside out. Work dignifies and we have to chase our dreams with perseverance and courage in order to be happy and shape our own futures.”.

Through success stories like Ingrid’s and those of other women like her, the empowerment grows, extending to other women and people who feel stuck in a cycle of poverty or violence. They prove that poverty is not a life sentence, and for poeple who feel they have no way out or those who have given up on hope, they serve as a reminder that there is always a way of reaching personal and economical independence, and through it, finally being free.

At CAPTA, we believe in giving tools for the financial empowerment of women. Training them in tourism related industries like restaurants and hotels has allowed them to access to job positions in renowned institutions like The Amercian Trade Hotel, Niko’s Cafe, J.W Marriott Hotels and Maito. Thanks to their hard work and your contributions, 72% of our graduates, from employees to entrepreneurs, are now part of the labour force and have success stories like Ingrid’s.

CAPTA graduates working at the American Trade.
CAPTA graduates working at the American Trade.

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Organization Information

Fundacion Calicanto

Location: Panama City, Panama - Panama
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @fundcalicanto
Project Leader:
Gabriela Valencia
Panama, Panama
$115,096 raised of $150,000 goal
 
1,137 donations
$34,904 to go
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