To provide comprehensive training and full integration into the working world for people with disabilities and special needs, through participation in workshop production and placement in an environment of respect for the dignity of all.
La Asociación Panameña de Industrias de Buena Voluntad (Goodwill Panama) began in 1970 when a group of people began collecting clothing and household items for Panamanian residents in need. As the organization grew it began expanding services offered to include training and employment for people with disabilities.
Bikes for the World supplies this Latin American flagship affiliate of Goodwill International with bicycles, supplemented by portable sewing machines and most recently wheelchairs, canes, and crutches for the support of individuals with disabilities and the general populace. The project is fully self-financing and represents BfW's largest partnership to date, with nearly 14,000 bikes donated over seven years. The sales of bicycles support the overall mission of Panama Goodwill contributing to job training for youth with disabilities and special needs.
Goodwill Panama offers professional training to young people and adults with disabilities, along with basic labor and vocational training in production workshops. Vocational training areas offered are blacksmithing, beauty, plumbing, baking, gardening, landscaping, and sewing.
Bicycles donated by BfW are reconditioned in a Goodwill operated workshop, whose employees--managers, mechanics, and sales agents, are individuals with disabilities or are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The workshop provides income and skills training to employees while providing low-income workers and students with affordable transport. Reconditioned bikes are sold at affordable prices at Goodwill Panama's store in Panama City and through Rotary Club and other wholesalers throughout the country.
Sra. Luz de Madrid
Bikes for the World isn't just about bikes! We also donates sewing machines to select programs overseas. Beneficiaries are often taught sewing techniques through the program and the donated machines help the recipients earn a living to help support their families. BfW donates sewing machines to Panama, Costa Rica, and Uganda.
Sra. Luz de Madrid runs her own micro-business designing and sewing modern and traditional clothes for the local and tourist markets. With her earnings from sales, this stay-at-home mother has been able to cover the school fees and associated expenses of her children.
Odison has come a long way from growing up in impoverished Alcalde Diaz, Villa Victoria, where day to day life is a challenge. Odison dropped out of school and his desperate parents brought the rebellious 14-year old to Goodwill Panama
They registered Odison in the Goodwill Vocational Education Center, where young people with special needs receive vocational education in the metal-working shop in the morning, complemented with primary and secondary education in the afternoon. Continue reading Odison's story
Erika Pimentel is blind. She received a braille typewriter through a special shipment from Bikes for the World in 2012. Several donated braille typewriters accompanied a shipment of bikes to Panama courtesy of Peace Corps Friends Panaman and Goodwill Panama.
Peace Corps Panama Friends help load a container of bikes after a collection at Arlington County's ECARE event. Produced by Bikes for the World
Pimental Family video This family purchased three bicycles from Goodwill Panama. The bikes are used by the family including one son who is handicapped and help the family transport and sell homemade foods in the community faster and more efficiently.