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Educate a child

About the project

The native peoples of Panama suffer from the greatest extremes of poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy and higher levels of disease.  Badi School is located in San Miguelito, a town where indigenous Embera and Kuna ethnic groups constitute over a quarter of the population. Nearly half the families in this area are homeless. Badi School works hard to provide scholarships to these kids because education is their best hope for a better life.

How we help

Though coming from deprivation and poverty, Badi School students have excelled. Scholarships for these students have kept them in school and allowed them to demonstrate their abilities. Every year Badi students are among those with the highest scores in the nation on college entrance exams, often winning the top spot. In addition to academics, many also excel in the arts. 

Excellence in Academics and the Arts

From its start in 1993 as a kindergarten in a carport, Badi School has grown into an impressive K-12 institution and has been recognized for excellence, both in Panama and internationally by the Ibero-American Council on Education (comprised of universities and other educational organizations from Spain, the U.S. and Latin America) as one of the best. Recognized not only for its excellent academic education but also for its outstanding programs in arts, music, computer technology, and community service.  

Despite their disadvantaged backgrounds, Badi School students have earned the highest scores in national exams, won awards in the arts and film and have been accepted at prestigious universities in Panama and the U.S., many with scholarships because of their excellent academic record and history of community service. 

Community Service

Moral leadership education and community service are woven throughout the Badi School curriculum. Students are recognized for their good character as well as their academic achievement. In 2015, a group of students from the 9th, 10th and 11th grades received second place in a national short film festival for their film on how to change someone who bullies into an agent of positive change. The film was shown nationally and impacted many students around the country and inspired other schools to promote good values.

World Culture Day

On August 2017, Badi School decided to participate in a world cultural day for 31th October 2017.  They planned to have 300 people among parents, friends and neighbors attending the event, and invited two jazz music bands and also prepared our students to present a play about the Persian History, named "Revelation of Light". The first challenge they faced was to investigate and write the script in only one weekend, then to practice it, create the costumes, curtains, lights and scenographic details. Additionally they needed to build the stage, rent chairs and tents, and prepare food and refreshments.  They sent the invitations two weeks in advance and that night they had 562 people attend. All of them were very happy, expressing their gratitude and praise for having been invited to a special cultural and family night. More than 50 parents assisted and more than 100 students were involved with different tasks. 

Story of transformation: Jessica

Jessica was a slow learner and not doing well in class. But when she entered the Arts Program, she became very enthusiastic, often staying at the school longer than her friends to practice her art. She did beautiful paintings and demonstrated a tremendous capability for the arts and a strong desire to learn more which affected her whole academic career as well.  She graduated with honors from Badi School and later also graduated with honors from college. One year later, she opened her own art gallery and in 2015, she received a national award sponsored by the Panama National Institute of Culture. She came back to teach art at Badi School and in 2016 will pursue a Master of Arts degree.


Story of Transformation - Monica and Madelaine Story

Badi School, which started in 1993 as a kindergarten in the carport of a trailer home, is an impressive K-12 school, serving 400 students. The school is recognized for excellence in academics, arts, music and technology programs impacting the lives of thousands in the neighboring communities.  Nearly half the families in this area are homeless.  

Monica Espinosa and Madelaine Rodríguez, both indigenous Panamian, came from this area. They would have probably been lost to poverty. But Badi School found them, embraced them, and started unlocking their potential, and here is the result:  

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This past year they were awarded 1st place in a national contest hosted by the Ministry of Education in the category of sciences research! They were invited to the International Science and Engineering Fair in Tucson, Arizona by the Organization of American States and the Intel Company to present their findings. In a competition including 1,500 students, Monica and Madelaine’s research was awarded 2nd Place. Mona Foundation provided $50/month scholarships to enable these two girls to go to school.

Story of Transformation: Dareleen Cano

Dareleen Cano was a beautiful 12 year old girl that visited the school in 2005 and at the behest of her grandmother, her sole caregiver, Dareleen was offered a 50% partial scholarship, and enrolled in the 7th grade. During the first year the school realized her needs, dedication and commitment and offered her another 25% to have a 75% scholarship for the rest of her studies. In two years she obtained high average and was on Honor Roll. The fourth year she painted a mural world map (planisphere) in one of the walls of the school which stills exist. She graduated in 2016 with honors and was awarded a full scholarship to the Panama Technological University to study Industrial Engineering. During her graduation ceremony, Badi School presented her grandmother with a golden medal to recognize her efforts to educate her granddaughter which she did by washing and ironing clothes. Dareleen is currently working as a Statistics Manager at COPA/Continental Airlines. She has since bought an apartment and brought her grandmother to live with her.

2017 Achievements

Served 398 students and 6,015 community members indirectly.  

  • Constructed the "Magna Classroom" to be used for Chemistry, Physics and Sciences labs
  • Initiated robotics instructions
  • Completed the "library preservation" initiative to protect the books against humidity
  • 4 of 19 Mona scholarship recipients graduated and are now attending college
  • 30 students received music training 
  • 180 students were trained in variety of painting techniques
  • 40 students were trained in oil painting 
  • 220 students completed and received their painting certificates 
  • 220 students participated in moral leadership program
  • Band participated in 4 parades

Upgraded the computer lab and installed solar panels.

Provide scholarships for 19 students, $9,500.

Support the band and music program, $1,200

Expand the arts program with new equipment and supplies, $2,600

Change a life!

Give $50 a month to support the education of one student for a year

Dareleen Cano's Story

Badi School started in 1993 as a kindergarten in the carport of a trailer home. The school is now a K-12 school serving more than 396 students, of whom 57% are girls. ...

Outstanding Achievement!

Heartfelt congratulations to Monica Espinosa and Madelaine Rodríguez of the Badí School for being awarded FIRST PLACE...