Compassion partners with churches to help them provide Dominican children with the opportunity to rise above their circumstances and become all God has created them to be.
Compassion's work in the Dominican Republic began in 1970. More than 54,000 children participate in more than 165 child development centers.
Population: 8,9 millions
Life expectancy: Male 65 years, Female 69 years
Under-5 mortality rate: 3,2%
People with HIV/AIDS: 88.000
Drinking water sources: 86%
Adequate sanitation facilities: 67%
Literacy rate: Male 84%, Female 85%
Population in extreme poverty ($1.25 a day): 25%
Compassion began its ministry in the Dominican Republic in 1970 as a relief program donating food, medicine and money for children selected by the local churches. In the 1980s the program became a school program in which children gained access to education through the local church. In 1994, the Child Sponsorship Program was started.
Children age 11 and younger typically participate in child development center activities 6 to 8 hours a week spread over 2 to 3 days. Older children attend 4 hours a week spread over 1 to 2 days. These are times of "essential contact" to develop the curriculum lessons. During these times, children also write letters to their sponsors and have a meal. Older children have fewer hours of essential contact time at the center because of their larger school workload and their participation in more service and extracurricular activities.
At the centers, the children are provided with vocational training courses for income generation (e.g., computers, painting, beauty, welding, upholstery, power inverter manufacturing and repair, repair of cell phones, baking, tailoring, barber shop skills, car mechanics, etc.) Many of the vocational training courses are certified, allowing the students to grow professionally in a given technical field.
Children receive a nutritious meal every time they attend center meetings for essential contact, and they get a snack any other time they meet for activities. A typical meal could include several of the following foods: pasta, rice, beans, chicken, oats, soup, meat, mashed potatoes, plantains, corn flour, milk, chocolate, corn flakes, bread, hot dogs or sausage, etc. On special occasions, like Christmas celebrations, the church partner provides the children with a full supper.
Children of all ages receive some Bible portions or a whole Bible as soon as they enter the program.
At least once or twice in the year, parents participate in a general meeting featuring talks on healthy parenting, and sexual and reproductive health. Some churches train the parents in vocational skills like baking, tailoring, computers, sales, production of cleaning products and personal care products, upholstery and bead jewelry, etc.