The Dominican Republic is a small island nation that sits on the edge of the Caribbean Sea. Its history is deeply rooted in the Spanish colonial era, and it has gained much of its prosperity from the export of its tropical goods, such as tobacco, sugar, and bananas. There are nearly 10 million residents in the country, and though many benefit from the prosperous economy that is mainly fueled by export and tourism, there are also many who don’t. Much of the country’s poverty can be found in its rural communities, often amongst those cultivating its many export crops.
One such community is Neyba – located in the southwestern corner of the country, near the border with Haiti. It is surrounded by a lush valley that supports most of the country’s sugar cane farming. Most of the residents of Neyba work the fields and barely make enough to support their families.
The need has been great for many years, and in 1985, Pastor Fernando Cuevas Matos responded to the need. He and several other pastors planted a church in the town and continued to work to meet the needs of the people through the creation of a school and children’s home. Both the children’s home and the school have been very successful, touching the lives of thousands of children and families.
In 2015, Help One Now was approached about partnering with this work and building upon it through community development, family empowerment, and anti-trafficking. Now, thanks to generous sponsors and supporters, our children there are getting extra tutoring, including English lessons. A nurse visits the home once a month, giving the kids regular medical check-ups. We have also hired a psychologist to visit the home twice a month to listen to and counsel the children in order to ensure their emotional health.
Finally, the second floor addition to the children’s home is complete! The home now meets all Dominican social service requirements for a children’s home. All of the materials and supplies for this project were produced and purchased locally, and all of the labor for this project was done by Dominicans. As a result, not only do the kids have a new space of which they can be proud, but the project created local jobs — which brings dignity and empowerment — and supported the local economy.
10.53 million; 3.73 million under 18 years old
Year of Independence:
Pop. Living In Poverty:
2.2% (Below US$1.25 a day)
The adult literacy rate is 90.1%
The youth literacy rate is 97.1%.
– 45,000 people living with HIV/AIDS
– Life Expectancy is 73yr (up 5yrs since 1990)
– Use of improved drinking water sources in rural areas – 81.6%
Human trafficking in the Dominican Republic is the third largest international crime enterprise in the Caribbean, generating 9.5 billion U.S, dollars annually. Dominican women and children are reportedly subjected to forced sex in their own country and throughout the Caribbean, Europe, South America, and the United States.
2016 Trafficking in Persons Report, Dominican Republic