Cheryl Carmago

English Teacher

Arraijan , Panama

Even on her days off, Cheryl spends time with the girls from Asilo Malambo orphanage in Panama who are enrolled in the Just Hope survival skills program. She is teaching them English, and she enjoys getting to know them deeply, so that she can better understand how to help them.

When she was a student, Cheryl was awarded a scholarship to a Christian school, where she learned English. She describes herself as a lifelong learner of English, because it is such a difficult language. After she finished school, she found her calling in a church position working with teenagers.

Cheryl is married with four children ranging in age from 4 to 16.

Current Programs

Survival Skills in Panama
Arraijan , Panama

Most Recent Updates


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.

Survival skills curriculum revamped

We have revamped the survival skills curriculum so that topics are presented in order of immediate priority: independent living, career training, co-existence, psycho-social training and health/nutrition. Based on the helpful feedback of teachers, many changes have been made to the content of the classes.

Valuable Lessons Learned

During their study of health and hygiene, the girls went to the store and looked up prices of basic necessities. One of the students mentioned she “did not realize it would be that expensive to live outside of Malambo, and they should stay there where things are provided.” It was a good opportunity to discuss finding a good job and financial management so that they can afford the things they need. In fact, Melva spent an additional week on job opportunities to address the girls’ many questions. She has arranged to have outside people come on Tuesdays and describe their jobs, how they earned them, as well as the difficulties they have experienced along the way.

Girls Visit University of Panama

One week all girls were given $5, and they traveled to Panama City to tour the University of Panama. The money was used to purchase fare on their bus card and lunch in the university cafeteria. Melva reported she was pleased with how much confidence they had in paying for and riding public transportation, after having done it only once before.

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.