SEA TURTLE PRESERVATION PROJECT
More exciting news from Jaque! BAB Latin America Director Ana Maria Vasquez reports that we have successfully expanded our Turtle Preservation Program’s capacity from 150 to 250 nests. Our program pays local people to preserve and protect the nest sites and aid the little turtles in reaching the sea. The money allows folks to replace the turtle eggs, a staple of the local diet, with chicken eggs, encouraging local small businesses and ensuring that an important food source is not lost in the process of ecological conservation. Each nest in the program releases 100-150 baby turtles into the wild, of which only 1or 2 will survive to maturity to return and breed on the beach at Jaque. For only $20, you can receive a BAB certificate of adoption for a nest, along with an attached tagua (vegetable ivory) carved turtle, while helping to ensure this program’s continued growth. What a great holiday gift! Make someone an adoptive parent. (More about our Sea Turtle Preservation program)
COLEGIO DE LA TIERRA IN JAQUE
We continue to support the growth of the year-old High School for the Earth in Jaque, Darien, Panama. BRIDGES, along with other Panamanian groups, is supporting Colegio de la Tierra which provides high-school level education for indigenous and other young people in Jaque. This is a huge boon for this isolated coastal jungle community, where previously parents were forced to choose between sending their children off to expensive residential schools in Panama City or forgoing their children’s secondary education. The school’s focus on teaching these indigenous youth sustainable forestry and the scientific study of the local ecology is right in line with BAB’s mission to “preserve ancient cultures and ancient species.” We are looking forward to the possibility of expanding the school’s curriculum to include the 12th grade, and we are always interested in recruiting teachers, interns and volunteers to assist with the programs. Can you help us by making a donation to support expansion of the school’s educational programs? Perhaps you’d like to donate your time and your passion to working directly with these young people, to aid them in their quest for knowledge that will help them preserve and protect their people’s delicately balanced relationship with the incredibly diverse natural world that surrounds them. (More about Colegio de la Tierra)
ESQUELITA POR LA PAZ: THE LITTLE SCHOOL FOR PEACE
One of our first projects was to get a preschool started where 3-5 year olds can be safe and nurtured. This gives Mom a chance to pursue other avenues for a few hours each morning. The children are assured a nutritious drink and snack each day and the teachers can make a small but incredibly meaningful salary. BAB has initiated two pre-schools in Jacque, which are now self-sustaining community services.
This project is an amazing example of community spirit. The two pre-schools that are up and running have been adopted by Casa Taller, a small private school in Panama City. They supply a stipend for teachers, as well as provide the nutritional snacks for the children each day.
These few hours per day without worrying about their children can mean a lot to local women, allowing them to work in cooperatives or accomplish other tasks, and some early educational fun is welcomed by kids who have known hard times and even sometimes witnessed horrible violence. (More about Pre-Schools For Peace)
MEALS ON HEELS: ELDERS FOOD PROGRAM
Many elders find themselves alone in Jaque when their children have gone off to Panama City to seek employment. Others have families who struggle to feed themselves and to put sufficient food in the mouths of their babies. Rather than ask you to adopt a particular elder, we ask you to adopt the project for a month. This is a costly program and very much in need of groups and individuals to cover one month’s worth of meals for $100 per month. Maybe you would like to honor a loved one who has gone or maybe one who’s just arrived, or maybe even celebrate the birthday of a favorite elder of yours, by adopting a month that has special meaning. Perhaps your church or social group could raise the funds to adopt a month. Please help us fill up the calendar year with health and happiness for our elders. (More about Meals on Heels)
RECYCLED PAPER COOPERATIVE
Thanks to a seed money grant from the Popular Movement Fund of the Peace Development Fund, a cooperative was formed to provide economic support for the refugee women in Panama (from Colombia) who make recycled paper cards. This has brought some economic hope to a desperate situation. These lovely cards are made of paper recycled from the village, with bits of jungle plants added, and each is embossed with a leaf. On occasion, a batch will come out hot pink or sky blue, indicating that they have recycled the paintings, done with tempera paint, by the little preschoolers. We have the cards for sale along with other crafts from the region. (More about Recycled Paper Cooperative)
Cards are $5 per 1/2 dozen and are available in the Fair Trade section of our website.
GARBAGE REDUCTION AND TRANSFORMATION PROJECT
Many thanks to the Cottonwood Foundation for their generous grant of $1,000, which will allow us take this project from its experimental phase to production. The funding was used to get a bicycle powered collection vehicle and initiate collection of garbage that can be turned into methane gas for cooking and compost as an end product. The digesters, initiated by volunteer Doug Renk, are being tended by students in the new high school. Our goal is to compost whatever is compostable and recycle what is recyclable. We will have a full report on our Darien Projects when Ana Maria and our volunteers return. (More about Methane Digesters)