DID YOU KNOW?
“Vitilla” is a popular neighborhood sport. It’s a simple version of baseball which is the national pastime.
Our work in the Dominican Republic
In communities like the Dominican Republic, we invest in the lives of children and youth to build the healthy environments they need to find a path out of poverty. With your help, our programs can make an impact on their lives and help them envision a future they never thought possible. Below are some of the challenges facing children in the Dominican Republic and the ways we work to create lasting change in their communities.
Lack of social services in rural areas
Dominicans in rural areas have little to no access to clean water and sanitation. Lack of access to these basic services is a major health concern for families in the D.R. Many houses do not have a water installation or adequate sanitation systems, which leaves families turning to water sources that are likely contaminated.
We offer vital educational assistance to help families and children understand the importance of healthy hygiene and sanitation. Our community centers provide access to health care services and annual parasite screenings to give children the care they need.
children, youth and caregivers completed our Handwashing and Safe Water Promotion programs
The importance of healthy behaviors
Proper hygiene may seem like part of an everyday routine we take for granted. But for children in poverty, teaching and reinforcing these healthy behaviors is a life and death matter. Each year, 2 million children die from preventable diseases that could be solved by simple practices like handwashing and safe sanitation.
Teen pregnancy and early child marriage
More than one in 10 teenage girls in the Dominican Republic became pregnant in 2013. That’s double the world average. As a result, the D.R. has one of the highest child marriage prevalence rates in the world. Early pregnancy greatly limits a young woman’s ability to complete her education, enter the workforce and provide for her family, trapping her into a cycle of poverty that continues for generations.
Our programs provide children and youth age-appropriate health and reproductive information through our Youth Health Corps, Youth Alert and e-babies programs. We teach children the consequences of risky behaviors and equip them with the knowledge on how to make positive choices for a healthy future.
teens and caregivers globally participated in our Adolescent Health program
The importance of reproductive education
Teen pregnancy is caused by lack of education and health care. A young girl who becomes pregnant is more likely to drop out of school and never go back. Without an education, her opportunities for employment become limited to non-existent and the likelihood that she finds her way out of poverty is bleak.
Low quality education and school system
The Dominican Republic’s education system ranks among the worst in the world due to overcrowding, rundown facilities, lack of sanitation, an outdated curriculum and poorly trained teachers. In fact, 46% of students don’t graduate from primary school.
Our eight community centers provide tutoring for children who have fallen behind or need help with their studies. Our computer centers give children the opportunity to learn marketable skills for today’s economy. Plus, each year, we award nearly 300 HOPE scholarships to help youth continue their education onto college or through vocational courses.
of tutoring students were able to finish their school year and move up to the next grade level for the second year in a row.
The importance of education
When we reduce barriers to education, we set children up to thrive. Access to education reduces the likelihood of a child’s involvement in gangs or drugs, and lowers the number of teen pregnancies. Education leads to healthier childhoods and, ultimately, to greater economic prospects as adults.
Drug trafficking is on the rise in the Dominican Republic. Every day, dozens of Dominicans are victims of a criminal act, and drug use on the island is increasing as well.
Programs such as Youth Council and Sport for Development teach children the value of teamwork, leadership and social responsibility. Youth then develop essential life skills to avoid the negative influences they confront in their daily lives.
Our Youth Alert project keeps in touch with program grads over 20 years old who have committed crimes or who are especially vulnerable. We know our continued involvement helps them believe in themselves, feel supported and empowered to make positive choices in their lives.
of participants said their Sport for Development program created a safe, caring environment
The importance of empowerment
In many impoverished communities, children don’t have positive role models or examples of people and families pulling themselves out of poverty. That’s why it’s crucial to provide children the confidence to create lasting change in their life. Our programs foster social responsibility through leadership, life skills and employment training workshops so children are empowered to create a future they’ve never seen before.
Unemployment among young people
The higher the level of national unemployment, the more other serious social problems such as crime, alcoholism and drug addiction grow. For low income families, informal jobs are the norm, including construction workers, market sales, janitors, moto taxi drivers or street vendors. These jobs come with long hours, little pay and no benefits such as health insurance.
Our Into Employment® program offers youth technical and vocational training and in-demand job skills relevant to their community. We also operate intensive English as a Second Language (ESL) programs, which are especially important for finding employment in the D.R.'s tourism-focused economy.
of Into Employment program participants were placed into jobs with the skills they gained
The importance of employment
Children and youth cannot create a path out of poverty without finding stable, long-term employment. Many children in our program don’t have the basic skills to begin an employment search. How do you fill out a résume? Where do you look for jobs? How do you speak to an employer? Our employment readiness programs prepare youth to find employment and create a future for themselves they never thought possible.
Your support is crucial to our programs
Are you ready to create change in the Dominican Republic?
Search for a child ready for sponsorship.
Our 67 community centers worldwide are hubs for activity and achievement as well as safe havens for children in our programs. See what’s happening at our community centers.
Hope Springs Community Center | Bayaguana
The Hope Springs Community Center in the rural area of Monte Plata serves more than 3,400 sponsored children. The center gives children access to a medical and dental clinic, pharmacy, library and child reading room, multipurpose room, computer center, play area, basketball court and community garden.
Want to visit your child?
Your support means so much to a sponsored child. See firsthand how you’re helping end generational poverty in the Dominican Republic. Plan a life-changing visit today.