Latest update

Compassion’s holistic child development programs are designed to be adapted to suit the local context and needs. In the Dominican Republic, the current primary areas of focus for our church partners are:

  • Providing income generation activities for caregivers of Compassion assisted children
  • Education support to help children catch up on missed learning after COVID-19 lockdowns
  • Lowering rates of infant mortality
  • Protecting children from gang violence, child marriage and adolescent pregnancy

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dominican Republic experienced some of the strongest and longest lockdowns in the world. School closure periods in the country were at least double the global average, exacerbating learning inequalities for children in poverty.

Watch the latest video update from the Dominican Republic below to learn more.

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Country update

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for staff, children and families in the Dominican Republic.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Pray that children, youth and caregivers experiencing mental health challenges will experience God's unending peace.
  • Pray that children and youth will be able to catch up on missed learning as quickly as possible.
  • Pray for our local church partners who work tirelessly to give children a better start to life.
  • Pray for caregivers who have lost their employment to find work so they can provide for their families.
  • Pray that children and youth can remain in school and that they would be protected from child labour or dangerous working conditions.
  • Pray for provision and safety for children, families and churches affected by heavy rains and flooding.
  • Pray for the local and national leaders in the Dominican Republic as they make decisions.
The provision of food in the Dominican Republic

The provision of food in the Dominican Republic

Ricardo is 17 years old and lives in Luisa Blanca, Dominican Republic. Life has been difficult for Ricardo's family. There were many times when they only had one meal a week to eat. Ricardo joined the Compassion program when he was 5 years old and found loving support from the staff at the child development centre. He loves everything about the centre, but what he loves most are the meals he receives.   Read more open_in_new

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.

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


mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births

The Dominican Republic's warm climate and golden beaches make it a popular holiday destination for tourists from across the world. Baseball is important to Dominicans, and you’ll often find people playing with makeshift equipment.

Despite the nation’s rapid economic progress in recent years, more than one in five people remain living below the national poverty line. For local children, poverty increases the risk of infant mortality, malnutrition, unfinished schooling, child labour, early marriage, adolescent pregnancy and unemployment.

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. 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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Stories from Compassion around the world

14 Mar, 2018

Why Do My Sponsored Child's Letters Sound the Same?

It can be disappointing if your sponsored child hasn’t responded to your questions or even mentioned the letter you sent them. Here’s why this could be happening, plus handy tips to prevent it. .. Read more

07 Sep, 2016

10 Eye-Opening Photos of Classrooms In the Developing World

Most classroom in Australia look fairly similar. Although they might be decorated differently, you can pretty much expect to see the same things—some desks, a board, and maybe some computers. But what about the classrooms of children in Compassion’s programs? We all know education varies across the world, but so do the classrooms! .. Read more

12 Apr, 2018

What Possessions Do Children Living in Poverty Treasure Most?

From remote, isolated tribal communities to bustling cities and crowded slums, 10 children in our Child Sponsorship Program share their treasured possessions. These are their beautiful, surprising and funny answers... Read more