Compassion started working in Dominican Republic in 1970. Today, there are over 69,000 children registered with the program at 219 child development centres facilitated by local church partners.
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of people lack access to safe water
have no basic literacy
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.
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…open_in_new Read full letter
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.open_in_new Read more
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