Dominican Republic

Population: Over 10 million
Government: Democratic Republic
Land Mass: 18,792 square miles
Currency: Dominican peso
Primary Religion: Roman Catholic
Infant Mortality Rate (per 1,000 births): 22.8

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The Dominican Republic represents the oldest European settlement in the New World. It occupies half of the island of Hispaniola, sharing the other half with its French-speaking neighbor, Haiti. From the towering palm trees that grace its world-famous beaches to the massive cacti that dot the interior of the island, the Dominican Republic offers natural beauty to suit all tastes. In addition to its lush tropical vegetation, the warmth and friendliness of its inhabitants make the Dominican Republic a popular choice for sightseers. But not far from tourist destinations, poverty is widespread and profound, making the kind of support provided by Children International essential for the progress of impoverished Dominican children. 


Santo Domingo

Children International’s agency in the Dominican Republic is located in Santo Domingo, the nation’s capital. Famous sights in Santo Domingo include a massive monument to Christopher Columbus and the home of Columbus’ son, Diego, who served as governor of Hispaniola after his father. But the beautiful colonial architecture of downtown Santo Domingo quickly gives way to the crowded and dangerous slums that serve as home to many of the city’s poor…places where Children International is bringing medical care, educational assistance and the hope of a better future.

Santiago de los Caballeros

In addition to working in Santo Domingo, Children International also provides sponsorship services to thousands of children in Santiago de los Caballeros, a colonial city whose founding predates Santo Domingo’s by at least two years. Santiago once served as the nation’s capital. Today, Santiago and its surrounding areas are home to some of Children International’s oldest sponsorship communities. 

Sponsor a child in Dominican Republic


  • Drug use in the Dominican Republic is reported to have risen tenfold between 1975 and 2005.

  • The unemployment rate in the Dominican Republic stands at over 13%.

  • More than 40% of Dominicans live below the poverty line.

  • In 2009, over 59,000 people in the Dominican Republic were known to be living with HIV/AIDS.


Even though the economy of the Dominican Republic is rebounding from the recent global economic difficulties, finding steady work continues to be difficult, especially for the country’s poor. In addition, the island nation is regularly assaulted by violent hurricanes and tropical storms, threatening the livelihoods, homes and belongings of those who are forced to live in vulnerable areas.


  • Children International’s agency in the Dominican Republic helps nearly 32,000 sponsored children and youth.

  • Sponsored children and youth receive vital assistance like free medical and dental care, nutritional support, educational assistance, family aid, clothing, school supplies and uniforms, shoes and more.

  • Over 700 volunteers support the work of Children International in the Dominican Republic. Of these, 95% are mothers of sponsored children.

  • A broad youth program featuring a variety of groups and activities that help teens build life skills and prepare for a more promising adulthood.

  • Volunteers known as Health Promoters work to raise awareness of and help prevent diseases among sponsored children through initiatives like dental drives, parasite prevention activities and nutrition workshops.

  • Nine community centers and eight libraries serve the needs of our sponsored children, with the help of youth and adult volunteer Education Promoters.

  • We award nearly 300 HOPE scholarships each year for vocational courses like cosmetology, computer science, hairdressing and secretarial work. These courses are designed to significantly increase young people’s earning power.

The Full Story

Click on the titles below to watch videos and slideshows or read stories about our programs in the Dominican Republic:

Life in the Dump

Sponsor a child in Dominican Republic

Imagine spending your days in the city dump…now meet some children and families who do. More...
January 8, 2009 – Tags: anti-parasite campaign, extreme poverty in Dominican Republic, living in a dump

Focused on Poverty
June 21, 2011 – Tags: sponsor visit to Dominican Republic, professional photographer visits sponsored child

Sponsorship in the Dominican Republic
September 23, 2009 – Tags: sponsorship video, poverty and sponsorship in the Dominican Republic