In Northwestern Dominican Republic
Geography & Climate
- The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. The western third is occupied by Haiti.
- The island borders the Caribbean to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the north.
- The Dominican Republic has a moderate, relatively mild tropical climate. Temperatures rarely rise above 90 degrees, and freezing temperatures are unknown.
- Occasionally, severe tropical storms and hurricanes cause devastation to the country.
As throughout the Dominican Republic, unemployment is widespread in the northwestern provinces, as is the lack of vocational training opportunities.
Adults take whatever temporary labor jobs they can find. But temporary labor jobs typically pay an average of the equivalent of $8 per day.
In too many cases, parents can afford to provide their children only one small daily meal.
It is common to see children working or begging to earn a little money.
Impoverished Haitians often cross the border in search of work, putting an even greater strain on the fragile Dominican economy.
Children at Home
Typical homes in northwestern Dominican Republic are crudely constructed of wood and scrap materials.
They provide little protection from the fierce tropical storms that the Dominican Republic experiences each year from May to November.
Few homes of the poor have the basics of electricity and running water. And the lack of a sewage system in most impoverished communities poses serious health hazards for children.
Issues and Concerns
- In addition to unemployment and child labor issues, the northwestern region is prone to natural disasters and crises.
- Over the past year, drought in the northwest has caused crops to fail and made potable water scarce. Families dependent on what they grow for their food supply are suffering greatly from this situation.
- At the same time, the poor are vulnerable to the fierce tropical storms, which often happen during hurricane season between May and November.
Local Needs and Challenges
Lack of sanitation
Growing up healthy and happy in the northwest’s impoverished communities is a struggle. Children commonly suffer from illnesses caused by unsanitary living conditions.
Because poor parents earn so little, many can’t afford to feed their families more than once per day.
Often, parents who don’t understand the importance of education encourage their children to work rather than attend school. It is common to see children shining shoes, cleaning car windshields at intersections, or begging in the streets.
Also in this region, children suffer from the breakdown of family life, and domestic violence is common.
Schools and Education
- In the Dominican Republic’s northwestern region, two primary challenges confronting children in need are the lack of educational resources and the high rate of school dropout.
- Because of insufficient school facilities, many classes are taught in public parks under the trees.
- In the rural communities, four out of every 10 children in poverty do not complete their basic education.
Compassion Dominican Republic works to ensure that every registered child is able to attend school, and it provides additional support, including tutoring, at the child development centers.
At the Compassion Child Development Center
Compassion-assisted child development centers in the Dominican Republic’s northwestern region provide registered children with the material assistance and learning opportunities they need to develop their full potential in Christ.
In addition to attending school, children receive tutoring, supplemental nutrition, health and hygiene training, and the chance to learn about the love of their heavenly Father.
They also spend time praying for their sponsors and writing letters to them.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
In partnership with local churches, Compassion brings help and hope to children in need in northwestern Dominican Republic, providing:
- regular nutritious meals and snacks
- health checkups and medical care as needed
- the support needed to attend school
- extra tutoring at their Compassion center to help ensure that they stay in school and excel at their studies
- encouragement and resources to go farther – through special vocational/technical training or college
- training for parents about the importance of their children’s education
- an introduction to the love of God and encouragement to discover and follow His plan