Teaching Girls the Skills to Survive and Thrive in Panama

April 5, 2016

Our survival skills classes in Panama are in full swing! With great joy we announce that 16 girls from the Asilo Malambo orphanage and 13 girls from the Hogar San Vicente orphanage are enrolled in weekly survival skills classes at their respective homes.

Walkira and Melva are the life skills teachers in Malambo and San Vicente, respectively. They each have begun meeting with their group of girls every Friday.


Melva (left) and Carolina (right) prepare the class materials.

Before the first classes started on March 4, we were privileged to visit both homes and participate in half-day orientation sessions with the students, teachers and orphanage administrators. The collective energy and excitement around the launch of this program was reflected in an exercise facilitated by Carolina, our boots on the ground in Panama. She projected a large tree on the wall on which the students, teachers and administrators were encouraged to add their hopes of what the girls will get out of the program. Items included “knowing how to choose their priorities,” “striving for what they want,” and “appreciating what they have.” The students themselves added “how to manage money,” “how to find a job,” and “know myself better.”


The curriculum includes five general areas of learning, including health and nutrition, independent living skills, coexistence, psychosocial wellness and job training. Each area contains multiple individual lessons, such as “Food and Nutritional Habits,” “Five Basic Menus,” “Money Management,” and “Choosing an Occupation, Trade or Profession.”

In another exercise, Carolina asked the girls to lie on the floor and close their eyes, and guided them through envisioning the positive futures ahead of them. We join with these girls and their teachers in envisioning their positive futures – futures full of hope and opportunity!