medo is a small grassroots organization, named after a Ngobe-Bugle hero. Read the story of Medo and the Dragon.
Our Mission Statement:
Medo's mission is to promote the sustainable development of the District of Besiko, by recruiting specialized international volunteers to empower community members with educational programs and to collaborate with community groups and organizations on projects in the areas of education, health, environment, and culture promotion.
We recognized the need for an organization to bring together volunteers from abroad and local organizations who need volunteer assistance. The first of these volunteers were: Adan Bejerano of Soloy, Anna Zaniewski of the United States and "Maria" Marie-Rose Shoucri of Canada. We assembled a team of devoted locals who are now the heart and body of medo: Plinio Bejerano Rios, Urcinia Palacio, Frederico Sanchez, Aquilina Gallejo.
(in photo from left to right: Anna, Adan, Marie-Rose)
volunteers have been coming to Soloy from Canada and working with Adan since June 2002. medo was created in 2005.
due to a lack of funds for legal fees, medo is not officially recognized. If you'd like to help us get official recognition, that would be a great help.
Get to know us better and join the facebook group "Medo"
My greatest success has been my involvement with CASS. I was fortunate to win a leadership scholarship in 1999 which enabled me to attended Mount Hood Community College MHCC in Portland, Oregon, where I studied Integrated Natural Resources Technology. Through CASS I was able to learn the importance of gaining knowledge of environmental science through a strong educational system, while learning a new culture, and seeing how volunteering can benefit a community. By staying with a host family for the first year, I gained first-hand experience of American culture and hospitality, made many friendships with other students,both american and non-american, professors and tutors, with who I still remain in close contact.
The essential part of the program in Oregon was not only the time spent there, but the emphasis on returning home to Panama. It was then that the knowledge I had gained in the States could be applied to my own community. Once back home the hard work began. For CASS, the ultimate measure of success lies in the students going home to make positive contributions to their families, communities, and countries.
When I returned home, I introduced a small grassroots organization called Medo. Medo´s mission is to recruit specialized international volunteers to help with the many projects in the area. The projects created by Medo have helped and are currently assisting with educational programs, health issues, the environment, and cultural promotion, in the form of eco-tourism. For more information about these projects please visit the website at: http://medo.awardspace.com
While maintaining the post as Medo Coordinator, I have also been teaching Fundamental Computer Science, both office and internet, at the Community Technology and Learning Center in Soloy. Microsoft Panama funded this project in 2003 through the Mona Foundation; this has been a great boost for the community. It has advanced levels of education and allowed a remote community to access information and resources worldwide, where before they could not. For everybody here, a project like this used to be just a dream, but now it is a reality for this tiny community.
The future for Medo is bright, as it is only in its infancy regarding the many projects it would like to introduce. The ones already introduced have proved successful but there are still many waiting to get started with the help of enthusiastic volunteers. We hope that everything we are trying to achieve in the diverse range of projects here will become sustainable for the community in the Comarca. By working closely with other organizations who are interested in achieving the same results, we will hopefully gain international support. Success will be reached by forging partnerships with both local and international organizations.
Due to my unique upbringing in the Comarca in an indigenous community, I realize the importance of maintaining our culture and history. While desiring to improve educational and health standards amongst locals through the continual support and advice of specialized volunteers, I do not,however, wish to alter the culture of the Comarca, but hope only to make the community a better place to live in. Through the many projects, the most important thing that the volunteers and I can learn and pass on to visitors is the message of sharing our culture without changing our lifestyle.