LEAF International | Panama
Located in Panama City, Panama | Founded 2015 | 70+ Youth
Why Panama? Since 2007, LEAF International has worked with unwavering commitment in Panama. From 2007-2014, LEAF International partnered with a government-funded orphanage in Boquete to provide an engaging music program for these underserved children. In 2014, our Costa Rican program with the Ngäbe-Bugle First Nation planned the first-ever “Tribal Reunion” at their homeland in Panama to celebrate the 18th Anniversary of the indigenous region of the Ngäbe-Bugle. In 2020, the program relocated to Panama City supporting the Guna Yala communities & their archipelago comarca.
“I’m inspired by children losing their identity due to living in the (Panama) city. They are disconnected, but it’s not their fault. As soon as they have contact with their traditions, something within them click & they become intrigued by the truth.”Yoba Barrantes
See The Program in Action
This program is dedicated to preserving the traditional Guna Yala folk dance styles & instruments. Culture keepers share the history of their ancient mythology through song, dance, & ceremonial practices to be passed down to the next generation. This program supports the paradisiacal Guna Yala comarca, an archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. The importance of this work cannot be understated. In a world where indigenous communities are struggling to keep their traditions alive and maintain access to their native lands, providing these communities with solidarity to keep their work thriving is necessary.
Meet Our Culture Keepers
Jose Hayans has been teaching Guna Yala traditions for more than 30 years. He specializes in traditional dance & flute making. He has been the Director of the cultural group “Si GGui Gun Galun” (Paradise of Birds) since 1990. Jose embodies the importance of preserving cultures for the longevityof future generations.
Yoba Barrantes is a cultural manager who creates experiences that focus on Guna Yala preservation. Yoba coordinates the historic Festival de Arte Dule which gathers indigenous Panamanian artists (writers, painters, poets, musicians, culture keepers). Yoba is in a Guna rock band called La Tribu – a powerful generational band that infuses the root of Guna Yala culture throughout their music. As a native Guna person, Yoba is dedicating his life to preserving the paradisaical Guna Yala comarca – an archipelago national treasure in the Caribbean Sea.
Through the project, students gain:
- Awareness of cultural traditions, including ceremonies, song, dance, and indigenous mythology
- Pride in their cultural heritage
- Increased self-esteem
- Leadership skills
From music instruments to child sponsorships, our people-centered programs depend on generous givers like you to grow and thrive. Donate today! 100% of your gift goes directly to support music and arts education programs in the country of your choosing.
Music Fieldtrips to David
[1 month-5 days week-8 classes a day]
Local musicians trained as teaching artists