Carolina Patiño Bermudez

Project Manager - Survival Skills

Arraijan , Panama

Raised in a loving, close-knit family in Colombia, from a young age Carolina developed a heart for sharing the love of God and helping others.

An occupational therapist by trade, Carolina’s life intersected with Panama’s oldest orphanages, which simply do not have the capacity to help their children once they age out of care. These young adults leave the only home they have ever known and face a reality where prostitution and crime may appear to be their only options.

Just Hope commissioned Carolina to develop a curriculum and pilot a program to teach these young adults survival skills. The students will learn things like how to safely use public transportation, what a healthy relationship looks like, and how to interview for a job. English lessons will also be part of the program, as being fluent in English can greatly improve the students’ career options.

Carolina has hired and trained local teachers to teach the survival skills and English classes. It’s impossible to know exactly how this class will fare, but we do know that the students’ very survival is on the line, as they venture out into one of the most dangerous environments in the world.

Follow Carolina’s journey as she and her team empower young adults to plan for their future and provide for themselves.

Current Programs

Survival Skills in Panama
Arraijan , Panama

Most Recent Updates


Survival Skills students share their thoughts

Several of our students in the Survival Skills program in Panama wrote notes about what the program has meant to them and what they have learned. Click here to read a few highlights.

Strategic partnerships offer growth opportunities to girls

We have formed strategic partnerships with local organizations that allow us to offer additional opportunities to our students. Girls have participated in a program called Transicion a la Vida, which included weekly Deloitte workshops that covered topics such as self-esteem and how to write a resume. The next Transicion a la Vida  program will be held every other Saturday beginning in January, and will address personal professional branding. We are also grateful for a partnership with Friends of Malambo, because they are experienced at connecting young people to jobs and college scholarships.

Celebrating the completion of our pilot program!

Our leadership team visited both groups of girls in Panama this month to celebrate the completion of our first Survival Skills pilot program. During our visits to Malambo and Colon, we conducted interviews with each of the students. We wanted to learn how they would describe the value of the program and what improvements could be made. Each girl received a Spanish Bible following the interview. Only Farah will be graduating from the program, and is already “practicing,” which is how they refer to interning, around the offices at Malambo. Farah had perfect attendance for the Deloitte workshops in Panama City held on eight consecutive Fridays. Maritza, Elva, and Alejandra also attended and did very well. Lucija, the Director over Transicion a la Vida, was responsible for including our girls and making sure they had all the information necessary to receive the training. After she graduates, Farah will live with a Malambo staff member until she finds housing with other roommates as she goes to college. Malambo will subsidize her basic needs until she is on her own. We are excited to this first fledgling leave the nest and take flight!

Curriculum Optimization

With the conclusion of our pilot program this month, we have tweaked the curriculum for the next program, which will begin in March. Everyone believes it critical to start the program with lessons on independent living, which immediately introduces the girls to the concept of what it will cost to live outside the orphanage. Beginning with this module will allow the instructor to build every lesson on the importance of pursuing economic independence.

Pilot program coming to an end

The work in Panama continues to advance as we close in on the end of the pilot program. The 40-week program will be completed in November, and we are already at work making revisions and improvements to the curriculum and activities. We continue to monitor the changes the girls are making through their journals. We will visit again the end of this month to celebrate the completion of the pilot, and to connect again with Friends of Malambo, women who continue to reach out to us and welcome our girls into their meetings and events. They are a critical connection to the corporate world in Panama, and we are excited about working with them regarding our future students who age-out of their programs.

Give A Hand Up

The hand up you provide could be the turning point for an individual who has expressed a genuine desire to improve his or her circumstances.