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Kathya de Chong of Alto Boquete Condominios – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Alta Boquete Condominios's  Christmas party for the native children around Boquete, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingHere in Panama, there are a lot of foundations for volunteer and charity work. There are people who work with kids, hospitals, and animal rescue. There are groups of very nice people working with animal rights and things similar to that. In general foundations that focus on education are the most important ones, along with rescuing children from the streets.
 
Some of the foundations in Panama are Nutrehogar and Ayudas.  These organizations get volunteers from different places in Panama and provide back up to small foundations. We also have Doctor Yaso (derived from ‘payaso’ which means clown), a volunteer who makes custom clowns and goes to hospitals. 
 
There are also foundations specifically for expats and people coming from all over the world. We find that expats and other foreigners are very interested in being part of these organizations. Here in Boquete, these organizations are very organized and often do charity work for the town. We need to consider the positive side of having people coming and living in Panama.  
 
(Alta Boquete Condominios's Christmas party for the native children around Boquete, Panama, pictured.)
John Gilbert of PanamaKeys – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Church with Gilbert family participation, Boquete, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are huge opportunities to do volunteer and charity work in Panama, which is desperately needed. I invite you to come down and I’ll take you out. Come down and I’ll show you the many different ministry opportunities in Panama, both religious and non-religious. 
 
A lot of the ministry opportunities in Panama focus on the poorest of the poor not having adequate housing. A group of people will come in and totally reconstruct a house from the ground up, or let’s say that a couple has become older and they need wheelchair access in their home that they simply can’t provide for. We’ll come in and pour ramps for them to get in their homes more easily.  
 
(Gilbert family's church, Boquete, Panama, pictured.)
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David Btesh of Pacific Developers – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
B’nai B’rith, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are many different types of charities here in Panama.
 
You can volunteer through a church or a synagogue that represents a segment of the population in Panama or you can volunteer in an organization that is countrywide in scope.  As an example of a countrywide charity, one person 50 years ago created the blood bank, which still exists.  Another example is the charity that my wife and I are involved in that brings in doctors from other countries (primarily Israel) to train our doctors in Panama in the set up and treatment in trauma centers. Recently, five doctors came and stayed here in Panama for 10 days to teach our doctors here in Panama how to attend to patients and how to set up the trauma centers.  We offered that seminar to 60 doctors and 860 showed up, so we had to expand.  To organize this, there is a group of around 50 women working with my wife. 
 
In the B’nai B’rith, we used to distribute powdered milk for a few thousand kids every morning. The kids received milk and biscuits, so they would have the nutrition they needed. 
 
We also have Rotary in Panama.  Every major charity in the world is here.  
 
(Providing a center that gives support in science, English and vocational training for poor youths, the B’nai B’rith, Panama, pictured.)
Iván Eskildsen of Cubitá Group – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Moving mud to build a traditional quincha home in Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingJust like in other countries in the area, there are many needs in Panama that could benefit from the help of volunteer organizations.  There are many different associations for many different types of needs and also there is a good amount of consciousness with regard to the environment.
 
There are a lot of possibilities to help out as a volunteer. For example, there are organizations that tend to the needs of children in indigenous communities, such as Fundación Pro Niños de Darién. Another organization focused on children is Nutre Hogar. Personally, I like to work with the elderly and homes for the elderly that don't receive much attention; I am involved in projects with the elderly as a volunteer with New Acropolis Cultural Association. Another organization that works with the elderly is Asociación Luz y Vida.
 
An interesting experience that I have also promoted through Cubitá, is to rescue the tradition of building quincha homes, which is a Putting walls on traditional quincha home in Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Livingtype of mud and straw structure which was widely used decades ago here in Panama.  In Cubitá we have provided businesses and individuals the opportunity to participate in activities as volunteers in providing a poor family one of these homes. This is very interesting in many different ways:
  • We provide a poor family with a home that didn’t have one.
  • We help to rescue the tradition of building the quincha homes, which is slowly falling in dis-use. 
  • Many of the teams that build the homes are part of companies that use the experience to build teamwork and as part of other workshops including using ropes.
  • And last but not least, I must say that building a quincha home is tremendously fun… 
Team building during construction of traditional quincha in Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
MANUEL GRANADOS  of MEDICAL SERVICE PANAMA, S.A. (MS PANAMA, S.A.) – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Casa Esperanza in Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are some associations here in Panama that assist people with cancer or with children who are homeless. Also, I have seen that many expats here are involved in taking care of animals. There are many opportunities to keep you busy here if you were to join one of these organizations. 
 
If you want to help, one of the organizations I recommend is Casa Esperanza, which I am a part of.  Casa Esperanza is for people who are homeless, mostly for homeless children. We give them a house, we feed them, and we take care of them. Casa Esperanza is in David, which is the largest city in Chiriquí and in the same province as Boquete and Volcan.  
 
There are many other associations that you could join. For example, in Panama City, last year, I got a request from a lady who is part of an association called ADAVION that helps people with cancer at Gorgas Hospital in Panama City. They do voluntary work and they need money. 
Charles Conn of The Visitor – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
1910 picture of The Panama Canal Zone chief engineer's residence administration building and staff quarters (left), Ancon, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
There are lots of people who like to combine travel and volunteering, so I have been looking into travel / volunteer opportunities in Panama.  While there aren’t that many organizations in Panama dedicated to providing that type of experience, there are, however, a few good resources.
 
One is Engineers Without Borders, an international organization with a local chapter here. They do work in the more downtrodden areas of Panama, such as in the native or indigenous communities. They go to these areas and determine what the needs are.  It could be that the area needs to be fitted with municipal water supply or septic tanks to help with the waste problem. Engineers Without Borders polls the community in order to get them involved with the project and then shows them the solution to their problems.  They bring in volunteers from the University of Pennsylvania or students from the local universities. As a team, along with the communities, they work towards solving the problems identified.
 
It is a great organization that I know is working throughout all of Panama from the San Blas Islands, to Panama City, and all the way to Bocas Del Toro. I know them personally and I can vouch for them.
 
(1910 picture of The Panama Canal Zone chief engineer's residence (right), administration building (center), and staff quarters (left), Ancon, Panama.) 
Robert Adams of Retirement Wave – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
There are endless varieties and opportunities to do volunteer or charity work in Panama. We have lots of non-profit groups here doing various work.
 
As just one example, we have one program that expats set up here to provide spaying for dogs and cats. Basically we had a large population of wandering animals and it was getting out of hand, but it’s expensive to do anything about it and nobody wanted to kill the animals. A number of expats and Panamanians work together to provide the service.
 
That’s an odd example but it’s one of many hundreds of examples.  As just another example, we have expats who end up getting involved with the local school. When you get to know your community, you know the areas where they need help. If you want to be a volunteer, then you can certainly be one. Hundreds and hundreds of expats are involved in local volunteer work all over Panama. It’s common. 
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Gonzalo de la Guardia of Panasurance – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Volunteering is one area where Panamanians could learn a lot, especially from the US. One thing I learned when I was in Seattle was to appreciate the spirit of voluntarism. Football games that happen there every afternoon are mainly because of parents volunteering their time every afternoon. In Panama, we do not have that culture. There may be some but we could learn a lot from people who have been volunteering all their lives.
 
There are many opportunities for volunteer work here in Panama. You can help in hospitals, teach English in schools, or get involved with embassies that do social work. There are plenty of opportunities for volunteer work but it is not as organized right now, as it is in the US. The need is there; all we need are volunteers.
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kevin obrien of BarefootPanama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
There are many opportunities for volunteer work here in Panama. There are different Indian groups in Panama that expats send volunteers to all the time. We also teach children from the underprivileged areas of Panama City about the importance of food and nutrition and other things.
 
I am sure that there are many volunteer groups here other than us. The Peace Corps and Doctors Without Borders also do volunteer work here in Panama. Panama is a country where you can easily transition and it is a country that is so closely related to the US that all those groups that I mentioned come here to do volunteer work.
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GISELLE SOCARRAZ of Real Estate Chiriqui – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The best opportunities to do volunteer and charity work in Panama are anywhere and at any time. Whether it is helping a group of youths form their own baseball team or visiting the elderly in your local community, sometimes the best acts are the simplest.

For example, when I lived in Bocas del Toro, I worked with an organization known as BESO. Every day of every week it seemed like we were going out and doing our best to make our little island town just a bit brighter.

More recently I have begun working with the "Ninas Guias" of Guayabal, empowering little girls to reach out and grab their dreams. Just last week we brought together female professionals from numerous vocations and disciplines to talk about  what they do and how to get started.

...and that is only the short list! Just ask around, and I am certain you will find a way to help out.
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Lourdes Townshend of Multimodal  & Logistic Transports Magazine – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
My husband and have been volunteers for 43 years in Panamá City in different charity works and major events, especially with elderly, children and  re-socialization programs for women in jail; most of the time, through the Lions Club.
 
Throughout Panama there are several and excellent organizations of all kinds.  Major companies in Panamá established the "corporate social responsibility" program and sponsor lots of programs; but Panamanians are used to helping in any way they can, and foreigners have become a great help when moving to Panamá.  You can contribute in a personal way, or belong to an organization.  In any way, you are always welcome and there are many ways to help, not only with money, but with your time.
 
For example, a good way could be through foreign language  classes to local underprivileged children, or teaching them worldwide geography and present them the opportunities before them if they complete their studies.  Or, showing local families how to improve their lives, maybe by establishing a Thanksgiving Day in your community, or agriculture and gardening work.  There are also many churches of different denominations that are always looking for friendly extra hands.  Particularly, I'm not of the opinion to give money to every person who asks or needs it... but make the  best out of it, by teaching and helping them how to make their lives auto-sustaining and be productive within their limitations.
 
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Sharon Schwartz  of Fundacion Bid 4 Bouquete – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Opportunities to volunteer abound in Boquete and it's a great way to meet people.  I've lived here a year and have now become involved in the Bid4Boquete which funds 11 charities.  I was asked right from the start to help at the spay and neuter clinics or the handicapped foundation.  More importantly I've met people who spend their time sewing blankets for indigenous newborns, knitting caps for them or delivering food to a family of 9 where the father is quadriplegic.  I'm impressed and humbled by this community
Louis Seldon – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Volunteer and charity work in Panama:  There is much you can do to help.  The best way to find out is to attend ExPat gatherings like ExPats in Panamá City, Coronado and Boquete and to join the American or Canadian Societies or InterNations on the internet to look for charity events / activities.
 
One Sunday visit we helped with a spay and neutering clinic for the Panamá locals in Coronado. My wife and I were "taxis", which means that we carried the dogs (dogs on Sunday, cats were on Saturday; we arrived in Coronado Sat night) from the "prep" area to the Vets' tables, then after the surgery, from the tables to the "recovery" area.  Yes, it was a hot, humid (open air building) and "ugly" job, but we enjoyed helping and doing our little part to show "we care".  Photos below from the event.
 
Coronado Spay & neutering event. – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingCoronado Spay & neutering event. – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
Coronado Spay & neutering event. – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingCoronado Spay & neutering event. – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingCoronado Spay & neutering event. – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingCoronado Spay & neutering event. – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living

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