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