Dayna’s cousin Devin is volunteering at an orphanage and school in the Dominican Republic for Haitian childern called École Ébenezer. The reality for Haitians living in the DR is a sad one. Much of the population lives in bateys, small sugar cane communities, that share small rooms that often lack hygiene, sewage systems, electricity, running water, trash collection or paved streets. Children play in ditches filled with muddy, parasite-ridden water and wander around garbage heaps with rats, flies, and mosquitoes. These conditions contribute to life-threatening diseases, in an environment where there are virtually no medical dispensaries available for treatment. Life expectancy in these areas is very low compared to the general population of the Dominican Republic. Teenage prostitution is the only “work’ available for young women and this often results in the delivery of a newborn in a less than sterile environment. Infectious diseases are a major cause of illness and death in childern. Routine immunizations for childern are unattainable and most childern are not vacinated against common childhood illnesses. Childern born in the bateys have no documentation of citizenship and are not entitled to medical services or an education. Project École Ébenezer was started to promote the educational rights of Haitian children living in Munoz, Dominican Republic. Dayna’s cousin Devin and her husband are currently helping to provide these children with a fundamental education (textbooks, supplies, and uniforms included), nutritional and dental assistance, and essential medical care. They taught English twice per week to whomever wanted to attend, played sports with the children, held weekly lunches, coordinated arts and crafts days, brought children back to their place for supervised swims, and had spirited dance-offs. Their plan was to stay for 3 months, and have stayed connected to the school ever since.
As Devin puts it:
“We’re just doing what we can, where we can. Haitian children born into the Dominican Republic do not have any legal rights, including the right to documentation of birth. Through École Ébenezer, we try our best to sponsor children toward getting proper documentation, meanwhile providing them with an education and healthcare needs”
When we heard about this heart breaking reality of this Haitian children, but also of the amazing efforts of Devin and her husband, we wanted to help. Having just recently raised over 3,000$ for childhood brain cancer, (https://runlikeagirl.ca/2014/03/31/fight-like-a-kid/) we didn’t have the means to raise more money. Instead, we sent a huge box down with some our of Run Like A Girl tshirts. The kids immediately loved them, and now Devin says, they finally have a “jersey” for their soccer team since before they didn’t have matching shirts! She said it was amazing to watch them start up a game of soccer in their new shirts!
Devin shared these amazing photos with us:
Here is some more information about their project at Ecole Ebenezer:
And her is a contest through Shell to see if we can win $25 000 to go directly back to the village, just press “like” on the contest submission