Location – Panama
The Project – Since 2005 the Calicanto foundation, based in Panama City, has been providing support and skills training to vulnerable women living in poor urban communities. The vast majority of these women live below the poverty line and have low levels of education. Many are also single mothers who have been victims of domestic violence. Through their CAPTA program, Calicanto aims to empower these women and improve their self esteem whilst also providing education and developing practical skills. The first part of the program lasts five weeks with thirty modules covering topics such as emotional intelligence, communication, self esteem, health, personal finances, English, employment law and women’s rights among other topics. After this there is further vocational and digital entrepreneurship training, to prepare the women for employment in a variety of industries. In the long term, the program seeks to ensure that the participants acquire sufficient autonomy to achieve sustained economic growth.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Calicanto redesigned the entire course (including much of the vocational training), and has been delivering it online. This has enabled the programme to reach even more women over a wider area of Panama. More than 1,700 women to date have completed the program and, prior to the pandemic, 72% of them were either employed or have progressed onto further study. During the pandemic, Calicanto led outreach programs and entrepreneurial schemes to assist previous CAPTA graduates in establishing an income.
One of the industries women can choose to focus on is hospitality, and Panama City hotels and restaurants seek out CAPTA graduates, not because of its social mission, but because they are responsible and skilled employees. This inspirational project is a fine example of how the tourism industry can have a positive impact on a local community and provide better opportunities for previously disadvantaged and vulnerable people.
Our Support – The LATA foundation is delighted to continue supporting Calicanto in 2022. Our funding will help to pay for all the course materials, supplies and transportation, as well as training and support from social workers and psychologists, for eight of the women who are participating in the program.
How can you help? – Donate here
Further information – A CAPTA program participant recently commented: “I thank the Calicanto foundation and all the staff. For me it was a very nice experience to do my professional practice, in the hotel where I practiced as a housekeeper they treated me very well and I learned how the work inside a hotel is. I thank the donors for supporting each one of us, for depositing that trust in us, I invite you to continue donating so that more women continue to have these benefits”