EducaFuturo Launches in Panama

Rachel Lomot, Communication Intern

On Friday July 5, 2013, Partners launched our EducaFuturo program in Panama. The launch was a big success, and we are excited to begin working on the ground.

Steve Vetter, Partners’ President & CEO, traveled to Panama to participate in the inaugural launch of the EducaFuturo program. In his keynote remarks, he addressed the positive social and economic impact the program plans to have in both Ecuador and Panama by eliminating child labor in each country.

EducaFuturo is a program that aims to reduce and eliminate child labor in Panama and Ecuador, especially among marginalized Afro-descendants, indigenous and migrant populations. The program aims to do this through improving education opportunities for children, providing vocational training to youth, promoting livelihoods for households, strengthening public-private partnerships within the business sector, and by raising overall awareness about the incidence of child labor.

In Panama alone, EducaFuturo plans to benefit 1,840 children and around 600 families. The program will focus in the communities of Bocas del Toro, Comarca Ngäbe Buglé, Colón, Darién, and Comarca Emberá-Wounan.

"EducaFuturo captures in its name the important role that education plays in creating a better future for all. EducaFuturo addresses the tragic consequences of child labor when children are not allowed to attend school but have to work to support their families.  In Panama and Ecuador we will work with over 1,600 families and a total of 5,500 children to insure that they receive an education. Education: the most hopeful pathway out of poverty and into prosperity." - Steve Vetter

At the launch there were four keynote speakers: First Lady of Panama, Martha Linares de Martinelli, the Minister of Labor in Panama Alma Cortez, the U.S. Ambassador to Panama Jonathan Farrar, Virgilio Levaggi, the Director of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in San José Costa Rica.

With the support of the U.S. Department of Labor, Partners has been able to develop and implement anti-child labor programs in five countries – Brazil, Colombia, Guyana and now Panama and Ecuador. In the former three countries we’ve helped remove more than 23,000 children and youth out of the worst forms of child labor. With this new program in Panama and Ecuador we’re excited to work with new partners and leverage our volunteer network to impact the lives of thousands more youth, children and families. 

A big thank you to the U.S. Department of Labor, Fe y Alegría PanamáDevTech Systems, Inc, and Entrena y la International Initiative to End Child Labor (IIECL) for their help in launching EducaFuturo.