UNC Spring Break Travels: Global Brigades Panama
Carolina Senior, Jordan Budget, spent the past two Spring Breaks in Panama through Global Brigades business program. The first year Jordan served in Panama she went as a participant, and the second year she served as a coordinator. Around 12 Carolina students attend the Business Global Brigade trip; there are many other Global Brigades trips—including offer opportunities for students interested in health and dental fields.
The business program that Jordan volunteered with seeks to create sustainable economic development solutions to improve the overall socio-economic level of under-resourced communities.
The goal of improving Panama’s socio-economic status is advanced through improving and expanding micro-enterprises and working with community owned and operated credit & savings cooperatives. Jordan’s brigade worked in a rural community teaching financial literacy, helping a woman named Mary revamp her small local business.
Jordan added that their days were split into two parts. The first half of the day was spent working in the community and playing financial literacy games they created.
“A few games we came up with were, financial futbol – in which the opponents of the opposite team represented wants that keep community members from saving money and ultimately reached the goal. Another game we created was hot potato, but with balloons. Each balloon had something written on it that was either a long term or short-term financial goal. Community members with the balloon in their hands last, had to run and place the balloon in its appropriate bin (long term or short).”
Jordan said the most rewarding part of her experience was, “figuring out how to merge different ideas -such as students with different majors in the states and diverse Panamanian community members. We found that although from different backgrounds, we had more similarities than differences and therefore it was easy and fun to work together.”