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Snapshot of Dominican Republic

15%

of people lack access to safe water

8%

have no basic literacy

92

mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births

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.

Many have benefitted from recent economic growth, but 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.

Poverty is an issue that affects younger people more than their elders. According to the World Bank, around 22 per cent of Dominicans live in poverty. But that number rises to over 55 per cent of babies between 0 and 2 years of age, and 49 per cent of youths aged between 13 and 18.

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.

Kleber Lora

Letter from Compassion Dominican Republic Director, Kleber Lora

Greetings! My name is Kleber Lora and I am the Country Director of Compassion Dominican Republic. I joined Compassion in 2005 after a time of prayer asking the Lord for an opportunity to serve the poor. My wife Layla and I have three children. Our older daughter came to us as a step-daughter when we were asked to be a transition home for her for a week. That week became 10 years! And now my older daughter is a teacher in a Christian school and has three beautiful children, my grandchildren. Praise the Lord! Loren Eiseley wrote a story about an old man on a beach…

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Hope at the Church Door

My name is Jonathan Almonte, and I work with Compassion Dominican Republic. I take sponsors to the partner churches to show them the work of Compassion, and so they can spend time with their sponsored children. I love what I do because, as a former sponsored child, I know that the most exciting moment of the life of a sponsored child is to meet his or her sponsors.

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Prayer requests for Dominican Republic

  • Pray that God would provide peace and comfort to the children as they seek to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19. Pray for the local staff as they continue to encourage and support the children and meet their needs even under restrictions.
  • Pray for Daniela, a Compassion assisted girl who is suffering from seizures. Ask God for His wisdom and guidance as Daniela's parents and the centre staff seek to help her get the medical care she needs.
  • Pray for DR0337 as they grieve the loss of their pastor. Pray that God would surround the pastor’s family with His comfort and peace during this season of loss. Pray for the children and the church family as they support each other and grieve together.
  • Pray for wisdom and guidance as local staff at one child development centre seeks to help two brothers who are potentially a part of a community gang. Pray for protection for the boys and their family. Pray that they will see how much they are loved by the church and by God, and that they would follow Him.
  • Pray that God would protect and heal the hearts of two siblings who are receiving mental and emotional help after their parents were imprisoned for having a violent fight.
  • And continue to lift up all staff, churches, children and families as COVID-19 affects all aspects of life. Pray they will be able to work and put food on the table; that the children will continue to learn and grow; that the churches will continue to care for the most vulnerable and show them the love of Jesus.

Stories from Compassion in Dominican Republic

30 Apr, 2020

Inspiring Mothers Who Defied all Odds

When it comes to their children, a mother's love can defy all odds and overcome impossible hurdles. Here are five stories of mums in the Compassion family that are an inspiration to us all... Read more

10 Apr, 2020

How These Compassion Heroes are Combating COVID-19 in their Communities!

From sewing face masks and making handwashing basins, to grocery deliveries approved by the President—here are five stories of how Compassion staff and alumni across the globe have continued to care for children in their communities! .. 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