Minimum Fundraising Commitment: $2,500
Location: Bocas Del Toro, Panama
Project: Bocas Del Toro Preschool
Community Partner: Give and Surf
Community and Project Description:
Located on Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro (also known as Bocas Town) is the largest town and capital of the Bocas del Toro archipelago. As with many developing countries, while the tourism and wealth of the town is growing, the local indigenous populations remain marginalized and have not benefited from the increase in revenue that has been generated by the tourist industry.
The population has more than doubled in the last 15 years putting a strain on all resources, including not having adequate infrastructure at the public schools to accommodate the growing number of students. While residents in Bocas Town generally have greater access to electricity, water, education, and medical care compared to those living in communities on more remote, isolated islands, there is still a huge need and extreme level of poverty among the indigenous living in town.
There are currently 1,181 students registered in preschool through sixth grade at the Nicaragua school, including 230 preschool students (ages 4-5) but there are only two preschool classrooms. There is the potential for higher student enrollment but some have been turned away due to lack of space. The average preschool class size is currently 30-35 students whereas most preschool classes are 20-25 students around the country of Panama.
Hope Corps volunteers will be helping to build a two classroom addition to the preschool. This would allow for 4 new classes of preschool students (80-100 children) to be served by the new space, thus lessening the burden on the existing classrooms, reducing the class sizes, and allowing more students to enroll. Education is the key for these kids to have a brighter future.
Our local partner, Give and Surf, is a locally embedded non-profit organization of volunteers providing sustainable empowerment to indigenous communities in Bocas del Toro, Panama, through education and community development. Check out this video to learn more.
The Bocas community is very connected to Give and Surf, as Give and Surf operates many programs with the students and has been working with the community since 2011. In addition to constructing the additional classroom for the preschool, volunteers will spend parts of the days working with the local teachers and students on various school programs. Volunteers will be fully immersed in the community and highly engaged in the project.