Survival Skills in Colón, Panama

Teenage girls who have been physically, sexually and mentally abused are getting close to aging out of the institutions where they live. Well aware of the violence in Panama and remembering the abuse they suffered, they are afraid of what their futures hold when they are on their own. Just Hope is working with local teachers and professionals to empower the girls with the “survival skills” they need to provide for themselves a chance at lasting independence. The girls learn foundational tasks of adult living, including everything from how to locate proper housing to how to pay bills and shop for groceries.This initiative also includes English language classes, as speaking English significantly improves their chances of finding a good job and securing a stable income.

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Survival Skills Students Learn Money Management

  • Survival Skills field trip, Panama
Survival Skills students in Panama have been busy this month learning money management, building menus to fit within a budget and time management. Students from Colon went on a field trip to the supermarket and learned tips for creating easy, low-cost meals in addition to nutrition and shopping with a budget.

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.