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127 years taking care of abandoned children

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A place where family is valued without having a family. Children arrive barely months old, the causes are numerous. It is not a new reality. The San José de Malambo Children’s home is in its 127th year dedicated to the care of children in a state of abandonment “at first we only looked after girls, then we began to receive boys who remain here until they turn five”, says Sister Lourdes Reiss, who assumed the reins of the institution since 1972.

Until 1995 the Home was in the Santa Ana township, in the capital city. That year the Home was transferred to the sector of Arraijan, located in Panama West. “I am satisfied and thank God that I have been able to fulfill a dream that for others would be impossible, change the attention system for children, now they are in a suitable place to live well, Providence always helps us, there are always good people that help the cause” says the nun belonging to the order of the Sisters of Charity of San Vincente de Paul.

Suffering is a constant manifestation that you fight with love and affection. Sister Lourdes says that there is a repetitive question within the San José de Malambo Home “Why can not I live with my family?” It must be answered daily and not only with words but with gestures “I talk to them and I try to make them understand through the love of God, that God has a life project for them. Respect for their dignity, take advantage of opportunities and everything they can learn here so that tomorrow they can perform well in the outside world.”

The outside world is a difficulty that Sor Lourdes has been able to bypass. They try to reinvent themselves to make the project self-sustaining, since their annual budget is $ 1.5 million, which is equivalent to more than $ 25,000 a week to cover food, medicine, services as well as the care of the children. The subsidy they receive from the Government is equivalent to 18% of what is needed.

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