Panama is one of the richest countries in the Central American isthmus because of its canal, but wealth isn’t always distributed evenly and so even the richest societies have poverty too. That is true of Panama, as it is in many countries. The development of Latin America has always been uneven and unequal and that’s where the volunteer services step in. Panama still needs outside help in the form of foreign volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, there many programs to choose from. Some require a certain level of Spanish, others just a willingness to help.

If your main concerns are women and children, there is a wonderful scheme that is focused on both. The children are the most vulnerable of society, being orphans, disabled or from very low income families. Most of these children need more than just education and knowledge; they also need love and attention too. Volunteers will teach literacy or English to the older ones. Other aspects are helping out with classes, supervising games and monitoring homework. On the practical side, volunteers are expected to help with every day household chores.

Another part of this program gives volunteers the chance to work in an animal shelter and educational center, for abused and abandoned pets. They can also teach and help out at recycling. For the experienced and qualified, there is speech and physical therapy. One program helps disabled women, as well as the abused or teenage mothers fend for themselves by designing, making and marketing jewellery. Other programs focus on helping the indigenous people on the islands.


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