27% of Panama's Population lives in Extreme Poverty - You Can Make a Difference by Supporting Panama's Three Top Children's Charities
You can help the children and families of Panama's neediest citizens by donating to or volunteering at three of the best run charities anywhere. Panama City's modern skyline belies the fact that 27% of Panama's children live in extreme poverty, a majority of them members of Indian tribes living in jungles and mountains.
This poverty has nothing to do with what we call "poverty" in the States or Europe. Poverty in Panama means thousands of babies sick and dying from severe malnutrition many in the hills out-of-sight. It means skinny migrant worker children who begin labor at age 6 and will never have a childhood nor get an education to break the poverty cycle.
But Panama has 3 top children's charities that are doing an amazing job serving these children.
It is a priviledge to introduce you to their work, their superlative programs and leadership. Love of children and the burning desire to help those most at risk is the driving force in all that they do. We have seen this first hand visiting their centers.
Casa Esperanza - Rescuing the Children Most at Risk
In 1990, a group of Panamanian women vowed that Panama would never have the gangs of children that live on the street that plague many countries in Latin America. Casa Esperanza has accomplished that and much more. It begins by contacting children selling on the street or working as migrant workers on coffee farms. In a multifaceted approach it gives these at-risk children opportunities to go back to school, get health care, and provides nutritional food and programs to stabilize their family situation. If not for their work the street kids with no education would soon turn to drug dealing or prostitution and the migrant children would repeat the same desperate fate of their parents. You can sponsor a child at Casa Esperanza for $35 a month. We recommend a visit to Casa Esperanza centers in Panama City to personally observe the love and great care that is given children that without Casa Esperanza, would be living on the streets of Panama. Call 232-7367 or visit Casa Esperanza
Pro-Niños Darién-Courageously Changing the Lives of the Poorest Children in Panama's Most Remote Region
Pro-Ninos Darien is doing nothing less than heroic work- their staff travel weekly by boat on dangerous rivers and where-the-roads-end to feed, school and clothe the poorest children in the jungle province of Darien. Until Pro-Ninos Darien was created, rampant child malnutrition meant that the children went to school without breakfast and therefore fell sleep in class and could not concentrate which led to a high percentage of absenteeism and school desertion. Thanks to a "Godfather and Godmother" program, each child now receives two meals a day at school. You can be a Godfather or Godmother with a monthly donation of just $20.00 for a specific child. As a Godfather or Godmother you'll receive school progress reports, photographs and letters from their godchildren. Your donation can be automatically deducted from your credit card each month. Call them today at 264.4333 to sign up. Pro-Niños Darién
Nutrehogar - Eradicating Severe Malnutrition in Babies and Children
Nutrihogar rescues severely malnourished children and babies restoring their health at special homes. They then educate and support their families in a multifaceted way so the circumstances that created the malnutrition are not repeated. This means everything from teaching Mothers to talk to their children to teaching fathers how to grow needed crops. They have multiple other programs including the daily distribution of high protein cookies and cereals to 6000 children in communities with the highest rates of malnutrition.
Panama City: 232.9655
Bocas del Toro: 758.6506
Los Santos-Herrera: 994.0477
Visit Their Centers
We urge you to personally visit a Casa Esperanza, Nutrihogar or Pro-Ninos Darien center in Panama City or outside to experience first hand their remarkable and loving programs.
You can help two ways: working as volunteer or making donations. In the Nutrihogar centers you can personally care for the malnourished infants and toddlers many of whom are very ill. Casa Esperanza centers needs volunteers to spend time with their older kids-even if you don't speak Spanish, they will feel you care.
You can also help by making a donation. Ask the center you visit what they most need- it may be a washing machine, an office computer, lunch supplies for a month. Or you can make a one time monetary donation or join a monthly donation plan.
Name accountant firms audit their books, but more important than that -when you personally visit these amazing institutions you will experience for yourself how much they do for Panama's neediest with a shoe string budget and a lot of love.