Transforming underprivileged young people into active citizens
The Ciudad del Niño association in Panama provides comprehensive care to 160 children and adolescents
Early childhood without proper stimulation or nutrition and living in homes in dire poverty and in at-risk situations has put the children living in the Ciudad del Niño center at a disadvantage compared to their fellow classmates when it comes to their education. This is why this center works to bring them up to the same level as other children of their age by providing them with the tools and resources that allow them to complete their education successfully, and with special attention paid to children with intellectual or physical disabilites.
These children receive support to help them overcome the disadvantages that led to them being placed in the center. Children are often admitted to the center because they have been abandoned, or due to physical or mental illnesses, a failure to properly care for disabled children, or because of family violence, addiction, and insufficient care and abuse by their families.
This association also works to offer families the support they need to deal with the reasons that led to their children being placed in the center in the first place, in order for the children to go back home as soon as possible. A pre-school program has also been developed which is aimed at children from 3 to 5 years old who are the brothers and sisters of the children being cared for at the center, in order for them to be better prepared for the learning environment once they reach school age.
The support that the Ciudad del Niño association offers is all-encompassing and on top of its educational program it also includes nutrition, health care, a home, sports and values that enable the child to have a well-rounded human development and upholds all the rights of children. The project is mainly run in the facilities of the Ciudad del Niño en La Chorrera‘s boarding school (in West Panama): children’s residences with their bedrooms, study and recreational rooms, library/internet, IT lab, sports facilities, canteen, park, workshops, etc.
The activities carried out in the Ciudad del Niño school are focused on guiding, supporting and motivating the students to help them achieve academic success and a balanced development.
The center’s methodology revolves around encouraging children to make an individual effort, motivating them and monitoring every child individually so that they can gain confidence in their own abilities. Great importance is placed on promoting civic, ethical and democratic values, and is something which is promoted across all their activities.
The Ciudad de los Niños center provides comprehensive care in order to cover all their safety, care and child development needs: nutrition, health, clothing, a home, games, sports, and vocational and spiritual guidance. This care continues even when they have left the boarding school through a post-institutional and family strengthening program. The goal is to help children with no opportunities become adults in charge of their own lives.