The old wooden house, above, sagging at the seams, was where more than 200 children attending the Shalom Holistic Development Center ventured daily to take part in Compassion activities. The building was torn down so that sponsors could help build a new one.
Now Compassion children have a new structure, thanks to 47 sponsors and many people in the community who pitched in to work on the construction project.
The community of Juan Tomá³¬ La Victoria, is an hour's drive from Santo Domingo, the oldest city in the Caribbean. About 5,000 people live in this poor neighborhood where potable water is scant and indoor plumbing is almost nonexistent. Most houses have dirt floors, tin-sheet walls and palm leaf roofs.
Surrounded by this poverty, the Shalom Holistic Development Center (DR421) serves more than 220 children and their caregivers from an old wooden house on the verge of collapse. When it rains, everything inside gets wet because of holes in the roof and walls. In humid weather the building becomes an oven. But that will all change thanks to 47 Compassion sponsors.
The sponsors arrived in January as part of a pilot construction project organized by World Servants and Compassion International. In preparation for this work tour, the old house had been torn down and a new foundation and corner posts set in place. Without wasting time, the sponsors got busy cutting wood, mixing concrete, hauling bricks, painting tin and doing many other tasks. The volunteers impressed the center's neighbors by laboring so hard to help impoverished children they had never met.
The Shalom Holistic Center is run by Compassion partner Pastor Julio Brazobá® and his Missionary Church Christian Association. Church workers labored alongside their American visitors, cooking meals, helping with the construction and running the many errands necessary to keep things moving smoothly.
While the sponsors worked on the building, the children met in a temporary structure nearby a tin roof on poles with no walls. Each day they sang and clapped loudly to encourage the adults and to express their gratitude as the new building took shape before their eyes.
The sponsors used rest moments to spend time with the children. Interpreters helped them share with the little ones about Jesus and His love. They taught the kids Bible lessons, memory verses and new Christian songs. All the experiences at the work site centered on one goal: building a new generation for God.
Thanks to the coordination of World Servants and Compassion International, these sponsors completed a task that would have taken the local church and project staff several years to accomplish on their own due to a lack of manpower and material resources.