Panabus was started with the idea of helping the homeless while preserving their dignity. The retrofitted bus with a shower, sink, toilet, hairdressing station and examination table brings medical care, grooming services and meals to the streets of Caracas.
When Venezuela180 began searching for our next partner, we were looking for an organization doing work in the healthcare sector, which shared our values of community, trust and empowerment. Panabus stood out for their emphasis on social responsibility and their commitment to helping people break the cycles of poverty and addiction. Their emphasis on empowering those they serve is evident in their practices. Through a network of partnerships with other organizations, they are able to meet the immediate needs of those on the streets, while connecting them with support centres to provide long-term sustainable solutions. To date, they have helped more than 26 people reintegrate into the labour force, finding employment that allows them to escape homelessness, and supported over 50 medical and social follow ups with clients.
Panabus also demonstrates a commitment to the values of trust and community. On the bus assisting healthcare professionals are street mediators. These employees all have prior experience being homeless and have rehabilitated themselves. They are hired by Panabus to liaise with those on the streets, following up with them to ensure they get access to the services they need. Through this practice, Panabus is able to build trust with their clients and their community.
Through our partnership with Panabus we hope to expand our portfolio to tackle challenges related to healthcare and homelessess, which are endemic in Venezuela due to the current crisis. Our main objective will be to provide grants to assist Panabus in purchasing essential tools for their work, such as laptops which are used to record patient and client info, and supporting the cost of the salaries of their team members. Everyone who works for Panabus is paid, from the doctors to the street mediators. It is this sustainability and the holistic approach Panabus takes toward addressing the complex, interconnected problems of poverty, addiction and homelessness that make them a leader in development work in the country. In five years they have a proven track record of success, and have demonstrated their capacity to grow, even in a country facing as many challenges as Venezuela. The work they do is so impactful because of their holistic model. Panabus doesn’t just provide meals and healthcare clinics to the homeless, but works with them to move people out of poverty. Ultimately, it’s work like this that is essential to building strong communities for Venezuela’s future.