San Cristobal

San Cristobal
Dominican Republic

Southwestern Region

  • In the southwestern region, families in need typically live in poorly constructed, rented homes. In the southwestern region, families in need typically live in poorly constructed, rented homes.
  • Children pause from their busy Compassion center activities for a group photo. Children pause from their busy Compassion center activities for a group photo.
  • At their Compassion centers, children are engaged in a variety of learning activities. At their Compassion centers, children are engaged in a variety of learning activities.
  • Children in the Compassion program have the opportunity to grow in every way: mind, body, heart and spirit. Children in the Compassion program have the opportunity to grow in every way: mind, body, heart and spirit.
  • It is common in this area to see children doing such tedious daily chores as fetching water. It is common in this area to see children doing such tedious daily chores as fetching water.
  • Broken families is an issue in the Dominican Republic, where 35 percent of children are being raised by single moms. Broken families is an issue in the Dominican Republic, where 35 percent of children are being raised by single moms.
  • Thanks to caring sponsors and a program that is Christ-centered, children have the opportunity to experience God's love firsthand. Thanks to caring sponsors and a program that is Christ-centered, children have the opportunity to experience God's love firsthand.
 
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC OVERVIEW

Population

10,349,741

Religion

Roman Catholic

Weather

 
A Glimpse of Poverty in Southwestern Dominican Republic Southwestern Dominican Republic
  • Among the obstacles children in need face in this region, one of the biggest is the lack of access to a good education.
  • In rural areas, families rely primarily on labor at large sugarcane, tobacco and coffee farms to support themselves. In urban centers, menial day jobs provide a meager wage.
  • All family members, including children, are expected to work to help the family’s economic situation.
  • Parents, uneducated themselves, believe that working is more important for their children than going to school.
  • Due to the lack of employment and difficulty their parents or caretakers have in paying the rent, some children may move from one community to another, preventing stability in their lives.
LIFE
In Southwestern 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.

Economy

The southwest is the Dominican Republic’s largest source of seafood and agricultural products.

In rural areas, impoverished adults typically work as temporary or day laborers on large farms. For their backbreaking work, they make only about the equivalent of $5 per day.

Also, daily farm labor is only seasonal, and in the off-seasons few jobs are available.

In urban centers such as Barahona and San Cristóbal, a typical job is that of motorcycle-taxi driver. Owners of motorcycles can earn an average of $6 to $15 a day driving passengers around the city.

Children at Home

Children in this region live primarily in rented homes crudely constructed of old wood and other scrap materials.

Children at home

Homes are small, and in the rural areas lack electricity, running water and sanitation facilities.

In the rural areas, it is not uncommon for several families to share a single latrine.

Poor, fragile homes are susceptible to the frequent tropical storms that the southwest experiences every year between May and November.

COMMUNITY
Dominican Republic Southwest Community
Issues and Concerns
  • Children in the rural southwest often drop out of school to work. They are often seen working in the rural fields alongside their parents.
  • As in rural areas, children in the urban southwest often drop out of school to work. They can be seen in the city streets begging, cleaning car windshields at intersections, and shining shoes.
  • Often, in a desperate effort to earn a little money, children will get involved in such risky activities as scavenging in the city dump for items to sell.
Local Needs and Challenges

Broken families

Thirty-five percent of the children are being raised by single mothers.

Poor education

In the rural areas, some schools combine grades one through four into one class, and school is conducted only a couple of times per week. Beyond primary school, rural children often must travel long and hazardous distances from home to the nearest secondary school.

EDUCATION
Dominican Republic Southwest
Schools and Education
  • In rural areas, classes are often held outside because there aren’t enough classrooms.
  • The government’s low investment in public education means poorly paid teachers who are not motivated to do their best.
  • In rural areas, five out of 10 young people are school dropouts.

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 southwestern 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 opportunity 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 southwestern 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 in the importance of their children’s education
  • an introduction to the love of God and encouragement to discover and follow His plan