According to the World Bank, in 2022, 13.3% of the population in Panama lived under the poverty line of $6.85 per person per day. However, through the work of organizations, communities living in poverty receive aid. In particular, four charities operating in Panama are committed to improving the lives of the disadvantaged.
4 Charities Operating in Panama
- Fundación Calicanto. This community-based organization in Panama came about in 1994 to empower impoverished and disadvantaged women in Panama. The organization’s CAPTA program helps women become self-reliant and economically stable through professional and vocational training that will allow them to secure a job in the hospitality industry. The program also has a psychological development component that aims to improve the self-confidence and self-esteem of women. Considering that, in Panama, marginalized women in inner city slums lead around 50% of households and have, on average, four children by the young age of 25, the need for the CAPTA program is clear. At the heart of CAPTA lies its rigorous five-week “Foundation Cycle” course, the cornerstone of women’s personal growth. Through this course, participants acquire essential life skills while cultivating a deep belief in their ability to shape their destinies. Thereafter, women move on to technical training at the Panama International School and Restaurant La Sexta. The staggering success of this program is apparent through the graduation of about 1,500 women, with an impressive 74% either securing permanent employment or advancing on to formal education.
- Enlaces. Enlaces is a Panama-based organization developed in 2010 to transform the lives of disadvantaged children and youth in Panama who aspire to make positive impacts in the world. Enlaces uses a three-pronged approach of “psychosocial care, artistic learning and pedagogical study programs” to help children reach their full potential. Many children and teenagers living in the neighborhoods around the Historic Center of Panama City face poverty and a lack of access to opportunities for economic and social growth. Their disadvantaged circumstances can result in a continuation of generational poverty. Enlaces aims to improve the futures of these children through a methodology that “combines dance, education and emotional development as preventive tools,” the GlobalGiving website highlights. Children in the program also have opportunities to secure scholarships for their education, both academic and artistic. Enlaces efforts teach integral life skills that shape the lives of about 400 children and adolescents (ages 4-17) annually.
- Asociación Panameña para el Planeamiento de la Familia. Founded in 1965, APLAFA aims to improve the health and well-being of disadvantaged people in Panama through low-cost services offered in seven clinics located around Panama. In particular, its focus is sexual and reproductive health but its services also extend to pediatric and maternal care. These services play a pivotal role in addressing high-risk pregnancies and ultimately contribute to reducing maternal and infant mortality rates in Panama. Over the last decade, APLAFA has served almost 500,000 people through its clinic services and educational initiatives and has delivered more than 15,000 low-cost health services.
- Fundación Oír es Vivir. Founded in 2008, Fundación Oír es Vivir supports individuals with hearing impairments in Panama by providing auditory services and aids regardless of financial means and resources. This organization aids people living in poverty who cannot receive the necessary medical help due to financial barriers or other difficulties. The organization actively promotes detection and intervention programs for hearing-related issues among newborns, preschoolers and students. The organization helps the audiologically impaired live a higher quality of life. Ultimately, this initiative seeks to improve productivity levels and enhance quality of life through the provision of hearing aids. Fundación Oír es Vivir has given care to more than 30,000 people.
These four prominent charities operating in Panama profoundly impact individuals and communities confronted with various challenges.
– Elizabeth Antenucci