The city of David lies in the west of the country, near the border with Costa Rica. The capital city of the Chiriquí province, it has a population of approximately 180,000 people.
In David itself, most people are employed in the commercial sector, but the region features a wide variety of ecosystems and climates and relies mostly on agriculture and cattle raising
Since 1999, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in David.
Around 25% of young people in rural areas are not in secondary school.
The education system does not reach all young people, and that is particularly visible in indigenous, rural and marginalized urban areas such as the Chiriquí province. One quarter of young people are missing out on social and professional opportunities for the future.
The situation is a bit better in urban areas, where 8 % of young people are not in education.
Panama provides a number of social assistance programs, but these have favoured urban areas. In rural regions like the Chiriquí province around David, 41% of the population still lives in poverty, meaning they are unable to meet basic needs such as food and sanitation.
This rate in rural areas is almost 4 times higher than in urban areas, where 11% are living in poverty. Many migrate to the city in search of opportunities but are often unable to find work, and their living situation does not improve.