Casco Viejo Children – Stepping Up

Casco Viejo – Casco Antiguo

Real Estate For Sale, For Rent

At Panama`s Historic City

 

There are studies that reveal that doing stuff with your hands actually makes you happy because it gives you a sense of a beginning, an end and most of all the satisfaction of having achieved something.   Last week, when walking down to our office at Calle 5ta in San Felipe, Casco Viejo (Panama`s Colonial City),  I saw these three kids making the most of their day off in school. Their mother was supposed to do the job, but they offered to help … and ended up “taking over”!!!

What might be a normal scene somewhere else, is actually the proof of a silent success in Casco Viejo, a neighborhood that has been undergoing a process of revitalization in the last few years.

From the three kids at least one lost  his brother in a gang cross fire shooting. His older sisters ran away (from home and school) and his mother having all the problems attached to extreme poverty and ignorance left him in the street for someone to pick him up and raise him.   This was years ago, before social programs were injected in the area, transforming forever Casco`s “gang community”.

Among the programs was “Por una Esperanza” (For a Hope) which successfully dismembered the gangs and created a platform where most of their members got jobs and even created their own businesses.  It gave also platform for ngo`s such as Aprojusan to be able to work with their children, and these three kids in the photo have been attending such programs for at least three years now.

As a result, their self esteem is back, haven`t dropped school and their grades have gotten great comments from their teachers.

Today, a massive Christmas party will be held at Calle 5ta, at the football field. It is being organized by the wife of a gang leader and it gathers around 200 kids (from all the gangs, even if their parents sort of don`t blend too much in general).  She is able to do this because of all the training she has received.  Stepping up as a neighborhood leader, she helps kids step up as well. To get to know each, to mingle, to bring the next generation of Casconians closer and better.

More on the party tomorrow! for now, just enjoy this simple photo… that means so much…

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