In 2022,Playing For Change Foundation initiated a partnership with La Escuelita del Ritmo, a music school located in Portobelo, on the Caribbean coast of Panama and dedicated to using music as a tool for inclusion and social change. La Escuelita, created 12 years ago by music lover and philanthropist Gladys Palmera, transmits and preserves an intangible Afro-Caribbean cultural heritage that traces its roots directly back to the Congo from more than four centuries ago. This partnership came about through our connection with the UNFPA and our shared goals to promote peace and social inclusion through music.
La Escuelita del Ritmo offers free classes aimed at children and youth in the Portobelo district, often at risk of social exclusion, lacking educational opportunities and professional development. In this transforming work, girls, boys and young people of Portobelo are empowered as protagonists of their culture and, through it, strengthen their identity, improve their quality of life and their interpersonal relationships.
ECHALE SALSITA BY LA ESCUELITA DEL RITMO
The jungle, the rivers and the sea, the climate, the history linked to indigenous people, galleons, slaves, pirates and merchants have shaped a bio-diverse Portobelo rich in cultural manifestations. All this wealth does not prevent Portobelo from still presenting great deficiencies in education, health and well-being of the population. Portobelo is a town of about 5000 inhabitants on the Caribean cost of Panama, established at the end of the 16th Century. In 1980 UNESCO declared the port and the fortifications of Portobelo World Heritage, recognizing its exceptional character. The town is also surrounded by an exceptional natural park that is the first protected natural space in Panama. For centuries, Portobelo was one of the most important ports in Latin America during the colonial era, and possesses till this day a very rich African heritage.