Key Metrics

  • 54%
    of Indigenous groups live below the poverty line
  • 13%
    of children are out of school
  • 83%
    of the rural population has access to improved water sources
  • 400%
    increase in youth crossings in the Darien gap from May 2021 to May 2022

Current Situation

Panama, a picturesque country of beaches, rain forests, and much diversity, has a quickly expanding economy but suffers from rampant inequality affecting the indigenous communities most acutely.

Education in Panama has expanded over the years and the ability for students to continue their education through secondary education has spread to rural areas. However, many indigenous communities, especially those in rural areas, lack access to quality education and find themselves in deeper poverty than in the past. Many children in such areas discontinue their education and support their families by working unskilled jobs. While attendance rates have risen, the quality of rural education has not seen advancement and it has poorer infrastructures including lower learning outcomes than urban areas.

The migratory reality in Panama has drastically transformed over the last three decades. The use of Panama as a bridge transit to the United States has increased. Furthermore, the number of those who have Panama as a final destination has also risen significantly. Data suggests that over half a million people, mainly of Colombian, Venezuelan, Nicaraguan, Cuban, and Haitian origin, seek refuge and hope in Panama but collide with harsh realities in one of the most unequal countries in the world when they arrive.

Ecologically Panama suffers from deforestation of the tropical rainforest, soil erosion, and air pollution in urban areas. The perilous Darien Gap connecting Panama and Colombia is prone to severe storms as well as forest fires, making it dangerous for the many migrants traversing the area.

The Solution

Our work in Panama centers on caring holistically for the migrant population to guarantee that their rights are protected and their needs are met. Through our work with Fe y Alegría in Panama and the Red Jesuita con Migrantes, we are providing for the needs of migrant travelers to provide humanitarian aid, psychosocial assistance, and training on human and migration rights for individuals traveling between the Darien Gap in Colombia and the Chiriquí Province on the border between Panama and Costa Rica.

Our Partners

Our partners in Panama include Fe y Alegría and Red Jesuita con Migrantes.