A Good Roof Helps a Child More Than You Think

03/19/14

Santa Ramirez looked up at the sky and knew tonight would be difficult for her family. Soon it would begin raining, and the tin roof on their home in the Dominican Republic leaked badly. She would have to find enough dry places for all the beds, but with thirteen people crammed into one small home, that wasn’t an easy task. Tonight, no matter what Santa did, her children would end up cold and their belongings would be soaked by the rain. In the morning, they would go to school tired. 

 
This was the exhausting routine Santa’s family faced every rainy season. Their roof had needed repairs for years, but they lacked the money and materials to fix it. So, they endured with what they had. Until this past January, when everything changed.
 
A Venture Team worked with local community members to repair roofs
A Venture Team worked with local community members to strengthen and repair several roofs in Altagracia, including Santa's family's.
 
That’s when a Venture Team from Real Life Church in California traveled to the Dominican Republic and replaced damaged roofs on homes in the Altagracia community, where Santa’s family lives. Because several of Santa’s children are enrolled in COTN’s child sponsorship program and sponsored by people like you, their home was one of the first to receive a new roof.
 
Santa’s family is very grateful for the new roof and the better quality of life it will bring. “When children have a good roof and concrete floor, they won’t get sick because of the water and the dirt,” says Reymon Lebron, COTN’s communications coordinator in the Dominican Republic. 
 
Thanks to the Venture Team, Santa's daughter Margarita now has a safe, dry home
                  Thanks to the Venture Team, Santa's daughter Margarita now has a safe, dry home to live in.
 
In Altagracia and the other communities COTN serves, families aren’t able to afford good quality roofing materials. Instead, they use palm leaves or purchase used tin sheets. In the sun and rain, these materials quickly deteriorate—rusty holes form in the used tin, and decaying palm leaves release a fine dust that gets into children’s lungs and makes them sick.
 
“When COTN comes to a place like Altagracia, they’re showing God’s love in a practical way,” says Orlando Flores, the leader of the Real Life team. “This impacted the kids even before the roofs were installed. It showed the kids an example of how we take care of one another.”
 
This September, another team will head to the Dominican Republic to put roofs on
This September, another team will head to the Dominican Republic to put roofs on up to fifty homes that desperately need them. Click here to join this team
 
Santa says this new roof has changed her children’s lives, but she worries about the other children who are suffering from inadequate shelter. “I’ve been in houses where there are grapefruit-sized holes in the roof,” says Erik Nield, COTN’s Seattle community representative. Erik and other COTN staff have identified fifty homes of children in our sponsorship program that are in desperate need of new roofs. 
 
This September, Erik will lead a Venture Team to the Dominican Republic to begin fixing these roofs. It’s a big project, but if enough people join the team, Erik hopes they can make a serious impact in the lives of these children and their families. Dry, safe shelter will keep these children healthy and make it possible for them to succeed in school and someday create a better life for themselves, their families, and their nation. “It’s such an awesome experience,” says Orlando. “What are you waiting for?”
 
Want to join September’s roofing team? There’s still time to sign up!