SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Panama).

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.

Of young people in rural areas are not in secondary school

Young people need more education

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.

Of the rural population lives in poverty

Children living in poverty

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.

Your support makes a difference for children in David

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Spending time in the garden together. Children grow up together and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Panama).

How your support helps in David

Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.