Spain's Princess Elena attends opening of children's center in Panama

Panama City, Apr 16 (EFE).- Spain's Princess Elena on Tuesday attended the opening of a center for at-risk children in this capital, a project supported by the Mapfre Foundation and the office of Panamanian first lady Marta Linares.

The princess was present in her capacity as director for social and cultural projects for the Mapfre Foundation.

The center is being promoted by the Movimiento Nueva Generacion organization and starting on Tuesday will attend to 300 children ages 3-17 from El Chorrillo, considered to be one of Panama City's most dangerous slums.

"We're going to be attending to children from the schools in the area that have certain academic weaknesses to be able to get them up to speed and raise their grades and ensure that (they remain) in the school system, preventing (them from) dropping out," Estela Villarreal of Movimiento Nueva Generacion told Efe.

The center "has a children's dining room, a program of dance activities, sports activities, and what we're looking to do is to guarantee the continuity of one or several of those programs with our funding, based on the potential budget, in the coming years," the general director of the Mapfre Foundation's Social Action Institute, Fernando Garrido, told Efe.

Also on Tuesday, Princess Elena visited the Ciudad del Niño, another program for at-risk kids funded by the Mapfre Foundation.

Garrido said that this year the Mapfre Foundation will disburse some $500,000 in programs in Panama linked with the 5th centennial of the discovery of the Pacific Ocean by Spanish explorer Vasco Nuñez de Balboa.