Latest update

The Dominican Republic still has the highest coronavirus infection rate among Caribbean countries, and the country has recently been battered by tropical storms and hurricanes. News reports indicate that the healthcare system is strained and hospitals are on the verge of overflow. This increase began shortly after the country began a reopening in July aimed to boost the tourism industry, which many in the country rely on for survival. The national state of emergency has been extended to at least the end of September.

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COVID-19 in the Dominican Republic

How is Compassion currently operating in the Dominican Republic?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    All Compassion child development centres are closed.

    _Staff members are providing physical and emotional support to families, including the delivery of 98,022 food packs and 35,5757 hygiene kits, while complying with guidelines. They are also working with local doctors to facilitate telehealth calls with families and have helped provide medical support to 2301 individuals. _

    Centres are holding online video classes. Partner churches are providing video sermons, online prayer services and counselling by phone.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    At this point, we are not able to safely deliver letters to children registered with Compassion centres in the Dominican Republic. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed in the Dominican Republic. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to an appropriate, verified caregiver, if necessary. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognising that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for children and families in the Dominican Republic who have been impacted by COVID-19—and the local staff and churches who continue to serve them in difficult circumstances.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • God would keep the children and their families safe and healthy.
  • A mother registered with a survival project as she plans and prepares for her triplets' births.
  • God’s peace, comfort, and provision would be with Ashely and her family as they recover and rebuild after losing all their belongings in a storm.
  • God would touch a child’s brother’s heart, who needs to know that God loves him and has a plan for his life.
  • God would be with Luz’s family and allow Him to show them how to care, love, and support Luz as she becomes the woman of God that God has called her to be.
  • God’s provision and protection would be with DR0720, DR0314, and the communities around these centres as they recover from a hurricane.
  • God would be with the DR0485 director as she grieves her twin sister’s passing. Pray that God would also and provide her with the strength she needs as she begins to care for her sister’s four children.
  • God would continue to keep the church staff and volunteers safe as they continue to care for the children in the surrounding areas.
Staying connected in the Dominican Republic

Staying connected in the Dominican Republic

In the Dominican Republic, local church partners have gone above and beyond to raise awareness for the prevention of COVID-19 among families. Some have even connected with local radio stations to spread the message further!   Read more open_in_new

Crisis Reports from the Dominican Republic

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    Tropical Storm Laura in the Dominican Republic (Final Crisis Update) 02 Sep, 2020

    The situation

    The most impacted areas were the Eastern and Southern regions of the Dominican Republic.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 2 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 106

    New information

    The local church partners and national staff supported the affected families utilising Disaster Relief funds. The families are now doing well.

    Prayer

    Thank you for your prayers for the affected children, families and church partners.

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    Tropical Storm Laura in the Dominican Republic (Crisis Update) 27 Aug, 2020

    The situation

    The most impacted areas were the Eastern and Southern regions of the Dominican Republic.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 1 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 105

    New information

    The impact assessment is completed. Disaster relief funding will be utilised to support the affected families, as needed.

    Prayer

    Please pray for the safety and provision for the children, families and church partners in the Dominican Republic.

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    Tropical Storm Laura in the Dominican Republic 23 Aug, 2020

    The situation

    The tropical storm has brought heavy rain, lightening, and strong winds.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: unknown Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 65

    New information

    The local church partners and the National Disaster Response Team are monitoring the storm and its impact on children and their families.

    Prayer

    Please pray for the safety and provision for the children, families and church partners in the Dominican Republic.

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Please note: Due to the current pandemic, most child development centres in the Dominican Republic are temporarily closed. Our local church partners continue to meet the urgent needs of the children through home-based care.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in the Dominican Republic

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care.
  • Children aged 3 to 5 visit the Compassion centre for eight hours a week.
  • Children aged 6 to 11 attend the centre for six hours a week.
  • Students aged 12 and older attend the centre for four hours a week.
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Compassion Program Activities in the Dominican Republic

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Compassion assisted children in the Dominican Republic typically attend program activities at their local child development centre before or after school. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in the Dominican Republic.

Devotional time - Children are taught to pray.

Spiritual lessons - Children sing songs and learn Bible stories. Children in the Child Sponsorship Program generally receive their own Bible as they join the program.

Break and snack time - Children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships.

Social-emotional lessons - Children learn conflict resolution skills and how to develop healthy self-esteem and a godly character. Children often come from challenging home environments and are taught social and personal skills.

Lunch and social time - Children generally receive a nutritious meal every time they visit the centre. A typical meal could include pasta, rice, beans, chicken, wheat flour, oats, soup, meat, mashed potatoes, plantains, milk, chocolate, corn flakes, bread or sausages.

Health lessons - Children are taught practical health and hygiene tips.

Letter writing and career planning - Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests, setting realistic goals for their future.

In addition to Compassion’s curriculum, once or twice a year, students from different child development centres participate in a camping retreat. Older students participate in youth clubs for sport, art, income generation and reading. Parents and caregivers have opportunities to develop vocational skills such as baking, tailoring and computer literacy.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in the Dominican Republic

30%

of the population live below the poverty line

95

mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births

In the Dominican Republic, the gap between rich and poor is widening, and more children are vulnerable to child labour and other threats.

The Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. Claimed by Christopher Columbus in 1492, the island became a springboard for the Spanish conquest of South America and the Caribbean.

Spain recognised French control over the western third of the island, which in 1804 became Haiti. The remainder of the island, by then known as Santo Domingo, was conquered and ruled by the Haitians for 22 years, finally attaining independence as the Dominican Republic in 1844. Tensions have simmered between the two nations since.

Historically, the Dominican Republic has relied on exports of sugar, coffee and tobacco. In recent years, however, the rapid development of the tourist industry and service sector has overtaken agriculture as the economy's largest employer.

While many have benefitted from this recent economic growth, the gap between the rich and the poor has widened. The poorest half of the population receives less than one-fifth of the GDP whilst the richest 10 per cent enjoy nearly 40 per cent.

In the past few decades, many Dominicans have flooded from rural areas to the cities. But without skills, families have struggled to get work—with devastating results for children.

Child labour is an ongoing problem in the Dominican Republic. Many families consider it essential for children to learn a trade, but too often they are denied an education and exploited in dangerous conditions. Many parents, desperate to improve the opportunities for their children, have been tricked into sending children away as domestic servants, or duped into prostitution and drug trafficking.

Yet local churches are working to reach the most vulnerable children with the practical, spiritual and emotional support they need to thrive.

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Will COVID-19 Lead to Increased Poverty?

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has left millions struggling with unemployment and uncertainty. But what will it mean for our world's most vulnerable citizens—children living in poverty?.. Read more

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