About us: Cambio Ceativo is an educational, social and spiritual platform in the neighborhood of Buena Vista, Colón, Panama. Our mission is to cultivate community and personal development by offering creative and transformative experiences for young people. The organization was founded in 2010 by pastor Michael Brown and Fulbright fellow Rose Marie Cromwell. Over the years we have offered an after-school education program for students, as well as workshops covering computer skills, art, music, storytelling, sports, farming techniques, history and geography. Led by professional educators, scholars, and volunteers from Panama and abroad, these workshops promote cross-cultural exchanges, personal empowerment, experiential education, and community service.
Our Philosophy: We believe in the transformative power of cultural exchanges among youth, and between students and teachers. We believe service-learning, interdisciplinary education and cross-cultural creative exchanges are essential to building life-long skills and healthy communities. We believe in the value of “Each One, Teach One”: the shared responsibility to contribute and be accountable to one another’s continuing education and development. We believe that all youth have the right to explore, imagine, create, and grow in a nurturing and safe environment. Self-expression, self-determination and self-worth are our educational goals.
About Coco Solo and Buena Vista: Coco Solo was located near the Free Trade Zone of Colon and the Manzanillo International Terminal in Colon, Panama. More than 400 families lived in the area, which was formerly a US naval base (founded in 1918). The Panamanian government began to move local families to the old base, particularly the barracks, in the 1980s, after their homes were destroyed by fire. Initially, the housing was meant to be temporary. However, for over thirty years the same families remained in crumbling facilities. Community members lacked standard living conditions such as running water, basic healthcare services, stable electricity, and clean public space for their children to play in. Due to the expansion of the ports in Colón, starting in 2016 the community began relocating to Buena Vista, Colon, in government-developed single family housing units. Cambio Creativo has remained alongside the community throughout this transition.