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Poverty levels are high in Panama in spite of the country’s strong economic growth. It is mostly high in rural areas where approximately 45% of the population is poor and 23% live in extreme poverty. More than 80% of Panama’s indigenous people live below the poverty line, and they are the fastest growing segment of the population.

In recent years there has been an increase in rural people’s migration to urban areas. Rural-urban migration, coupled with low demand for unskilled laborers in the country’s service-based economy, has led to an increase in urban poverty.

The rural population consists mainly of small subsistence farmers, landless and rural laborers, indigenous peoples, who farm at a subsistence level, produce traditional handicrafts and perform seasonal agricultural work and households headed by women.

Poverty in Panama in general, and rural poverty in particular, are caused by, but not limited to, the lack of a traditional agricultural structure and production, inadequate support services, deteriorated natural resources and an inequitable land tenure system.

In Panama, children are required to go through grade 6 and then if their parents can’t afford to pay for more schooling, the kids are put out on the streets.  It is not unusual to see 12 year old girls getting pregnant — so we have “babies” raising babies.

Our mission in Panama is to help and encourage underprivileged girls to graduate high school and then go on to University to earn an undergraduate degree.  We require them to get passing grades and we require them NOT to get pregnant.  Your donation will help us attain this goal more quickly. All donations are tax deductible.

..Latest News on JHI – Panama happenings in January 2015.

We ended the year with a positive bank balance in the low to mid 4 digit range. We are well positioned to move towards our mission goal of sending a young woman to University. We have identified a girl who recently graduated from Chame High School in the top 3 in her class of 45 students. She wants to earn a degree from La Chararra University with a major in Environmental Engineering. Juventina plans to enroll in University by mid-year. JHI – Panama has agreed to grant Juventina a “full ride” scholarship for her University Degree.

Juventina is from a family with 20 siblings, 2 mothers and one father in a small home near Sora. She is the first person in the family to earn a high school degree. We hope that Juventina will act as a mentor for her family and other young children in the Filipino/Sora area.Juventina Rios 1.15.2015

In December, we held a Christmas Dinner inviting all the administration and house Mum’s at SOS Orphanage in Penenome. One hundred and twenty five children were invited. Special thanks to all who contributed. Board Chair Laurien organized a Christmas gift program with assistance from the International School in Coronado. Each child had a gift to open for Christmas. Both events mark a first for SOS Orphanage.

In the recent past, founder Bob Wolkins was involved with a potential donation from an individual who lives in Ohio. This individual owned a large home in Romania which Bob wanted to use as an orphanage and a church. Unfortunately the building was vandalized before the donation could be accepted. It is interesting to note, that JHII can accept donations of real estate including raw land, residential housing, or condos. The advantage to owners for doing a donation gift can be impressive. Perhaps the simplest way to donate is through a “straight gift.” Donors transfer title to JHII’s 501 3 (c) and take the full appraised value of the property as a tax deduction, eliminating brokerage fees and, of course, capital gains taxes. On properties with a low tax basis, the advantage of a donation is obvious. Eliminating capital gains taxes, brokerage commissions and the time required for selling a property can be significant.

If any of our readers is interested in looking at a donation of real estate, please contact us. Simply stated, the owner would engage a licensed real estate appraiser to determine the fair market value of the property. Upon donating the property to JHII, you will receive a tax receipt and then when you file IRS taxes, you can take a deduction for the fair market value of the property donated. Often this can be more advantageous than an outright sale where you may have significant capital gains taxes. Please keep in mind, President Obama wants to increase capital gains taxes from 15% up to 28%.

Blessings to all!

Don Wolkins, EVP JHII

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Spent the day visiting SOS Orphanage in Penonome delivering Shoe Box gifts to approximately 100 children. The children loved the Shoe Boxes. We started at House Number 9, passed out the shoe boxes and helped open; then we delivered shoe boxes to all the other houses at SOS Orphanages while House Number 9 children enjoyed their lunch. When we returned to house number 9, we cut the cake we brought to celebrate multiple birthdays for House Number 9 children.

We believe the children loved the shoe box gifts more than anything else we have done for them.

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USA:  Jacobshouseinc@yahoo.com                 Panama: wolkins@hotmail.com           Philippines:mewolkins@yahoo.com


Activities Taking Place in Panama

During the year as many different events take place in Panama we are going to try and capture as much as possible and report back to you some of the events to keep you abreast of what is going on and how we are involved in the area.
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