Projects

Our Current Projects

At a meeting in the village of La Laguna de Pocri, Panama in 2011, the community prioritized two projects, a computer center and a sports field.    In 2012, the Foundation opened a Computer Learning Center in La Laguna.  In 2014, a the Foundation started working in the nearby village of Paritilla, as well, and in 2015 opened a computer center the Paritilla school.  In 2015, the Foundation provided support to a pre-existing computer center on the Isla de Cañas, an island with a sea turtle refuge south of the tip of the Azuero peninsula, while they fought for local government funding.  In addition, the Foundation has acquired a piece of land in La Laguna that has been leveled  and set up with soccer and baseball fields.
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Computer Learning Centers

photo (2) (1) La Laguna

Both computer skills and ability to speak English are required for many of the jobs in Panama today.  La Laguna had no access to computers or the internet, and no opportunities to learn English. The Foundation first secured the assistance of the Panamanian vocational training agency, INADEH, to provide basic computer training courses to its residents. Meanwhile, the Foundation worked with MEDUCA, the Panamanian Department of Education, to establish a computer lab in a vacant room in the local school. The Foundation hired a local computer technician, bought ten computers, a printer, desks, server, and all necessary related equipment. The Foundation also purchased and installed Rosetta Stone software for the teaching of English with the computer program, for use by students, teachers and adults. Once everything was installed and running, the Foundation hired Horacio Prado from La Laguna as the Computer Learning Center administrator. The Center opened in the spring of 2012.  Ludovina Prado joined Horacio as his assistant in 2013. In the spring of 2013, the Foundation partnered with SENACYT, the government agency in charge of spreading internet coverage throughout Panama,  and became a government-sponsored Infoplaza.   In 2016, INFOPLAZAS, AIP separated from and now operates independently from SENACYT, and provides support and equipment, but no funding to the Infoplazas.  Our model is known as a “Computer Learning Center and Infoplaza”.

The local Computer Learning Center advisory committee meets monthly to provide support for the Center, and to facilitate communication with the community.  Members include Neris Quintana, Castula Prado, Betzaide Sanzhez, Evelin Prado, Sonia Caballero, Rufino Prado, Yaneth Ortega, Jose Diaz, Leticia Ortega, Hector Gonzalez, and Olivia Villareal.

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Paritilla

The Computer Learning Center in La Laguna has been so successful, that in 2014, the Foundation began pursuing a new location for a similar project.  Based on community surveys, Paritilla was selected.  Using the same model, Peace Corps Volunteer Diana Bennett worked with the community for 9 months preparing to open the Infoplaza in the school building.  As before, we worked closely with MEDUCA, SENACYT, INADEH, and many local government officials.  The Internet was connected and the Inauguration took place on March 30, 2015.

Ricardo Guerrero serves as Administrator of the Center, and Jesus Antonio Quiros Verrano “Tonito” as Assistant Administrator, both local residents of Paritilla.   A local advisory committee was formed.  Members include Dilsa Omaira Cerrud Vergara, Nelly Aurelia Aparicio Prado, Jaime Antonio Aparicio Ayala, Lori de la Cruz Vergara Villareal, Eladio Cerrud Gallardo, Glaisy Lorena Quintero Flores, Luis Adan Herrera Tejeira, Oreyda Judiht Cano Vergara, Felicia Cedeno Villarreal, Enilda Gonzalez de Quiros, Jesus Antonio Quiros Verrano, Maruja Ramirez de Quiros.

 

 

 

Assistance to neighboring computer learning centers

Educational activities in the Computer Learning Centers

In the two centers, our administrators teach courses in computer use for children and adults, and collaborate with the school teachers to incorporate the use of the computer and the Internet with the school curriculum.  They use software designed to teach advanced computer skills, including coding and web design, to children and adults.  One of our students, a 12 year old, won 1st prize in a nationwide competition in coding in 2016.   The center is used by other members of the community to teach courses on the environment, food preparation, and handcrafts.  INADEH, the agency that provides training in vocational skills, provides various courses in our centers, including English, electricity, plumbing, accounting, and professional skills.

Students from elementary through university level use the centers to complete schoolwork, and adults can take online courses and use the computers for personal needs.

Sharing our work with other Infoplazas

Since our model has been successful, we invite other computer centers and Infoplazas to participate in joint activities, such as competitions and science fairs, and assist them in incorporating more learning programs into their centers to become Computer Learning Centers.  We have worked with the Center in Isla de Canas, a sea turtle protection area, and are currently working with the mayor of Pocri to introduce educational programs there.

Daysi Torres, Administradora en Isla Canas

Isla Cañas

 

Baseball and Soccer Field

 

DiputadoTito Afu visiting the sports committee at the new field

DiputadoTito Afu visiting the sports committee at the new field 2014

At the community meeting, there was resounding support for recreational opportunities for youth (and adults!), and a recreation field was essential in order to develop a program. The Foundation searched for a suitable parcel of land, and, after two and a half years, has found a great four acre parcel, bordering on a stream, just behind the center of the village.

The Foundation completed the purchase of the land in August 2013. The leveling and preparation of the land was completed in 2014.   The Sports Committee of La Laguna has taken over responsibility for the development of  baseball and soccer fields, field and equipment maintenance, and team organization.    A soccer team has already been organized and is playing regularly.

Improvements to the field continue.  The Sports Committee raised funds and purchased a mower to keep the fields in good condition.   In 2017, the committee completed building bathrooms with running water.

Members of the Sports Committee include: President – Noel Herrera, Vice President – Alcibíades Prado,  Edwin Ortega, Secretary – Abilio Sánchez, Assistant Secretary – Bernardo Prado, Fiscal – Nuvia Sánchez, Assistant  Fiscal – Viamilka Prado,  Angélica María Prado, Raúl Herrera y Horacio Prado,  José Diaz,  Director of soccer team – Vivian Ortega.

The Youth Committee: President  – Rey Jesús Ortega, Vice President – Luis Arauz, Secretary – Ailin Prado, Fiscal – Noel Antonio Herrera, Treasurer – Kathia  Sanchez,, Andi  Rene Prado, David Solís, Víctor Sucre

 

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