Goodwill Panama

MissionGoodwill Panama

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.

Background

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.

Impact

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. 

Beneficiaries

Sra Luz de Madrid

Sra. Luz de Madrid

Bikes for the World also donates sewing machines to select programs overseas. Beneficiaries are often taught sewing techniques through the program and the donated machines not only facilitate this instruction but also help the recipients generate income for 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

Odison Robles

Odison has come a long way. Growing up in Alcalde Diaz, Villa Victoria, where, according to Goodwill Panama director Angel Diaz, "the conditions of life aren't the best", Odison had dropped out of school and showed no interest in doing anything constructive with his life. Desperate because of the boy's general rebelliousness, his parents brought the 14-year old to Goodwill Panama.

There 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

Goodwill Pimentel family

The Pimentel Family

It is not uncommon for a family, and sometimes an entire village, to share a single bicycle to get to work, school, and to run errands. The Pimentel Family is fortunate to have gotten three bicycles from Goodwill Panama.

The bicycles help the family transport and sell homemade foods in the community faster and more efficiently. They used to use a horse but were finally able to let the poor guy retire when they got the bikes. These bikes are used by the whole family, including one son who is handicapped. Hear the family tell their story in this video.

Goodwill Erika Pimentel with brailler

Erika Pimentel

Erika Pimentel is blind. She received a brailler (typewriter for the blind) through a special shipment from Bikes for the World in 2012. Several donated braillers accompanied a shipment of bikes to Panama courtesy of Peace Corps Friends Panaman and Goodwill Panama.

Occassionally, Bikes for the World will ship special items along with our bike shipments to countries that allow this. Goodwill Virginia worked alongside Bikes for the World to deliver half a container of wheelchairs, crutches, and canes to Goodwill Panama. See other items that were shipped with bikes over the years.

Video

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.