Algodon

Dominican Republic

Algodón, located just three miles from downtown Barahona, is the first community Children of the Nations (Niños de las Naciones, as we are known in the Dominican Republic) began ministering to in the Dominican Republic.  Algodón is a batey (pronounced BAH-tay), one of more than 400 shantytown work camps originally erected in the Dominican Republic in the 1960s to house migrant sugarcane cutters from Haiti.  (To find out more, visit The Origin of the Dominican Batey.)

Algodón is a predominantly Haitian-Dominican community.  (A “Haitian-Dominican” is defined as a person of Haitian descent legally living in the Dominican Republic but not recognized as a citizen.)  The approximately 300 families (1,500+ people) that reside in Algodón—second- and third-generation families born in the Dominican Republic to migrant-worker Haitians who originally came to the Dominican Republic as early as the 1960s—lack Dominican citizenship, therefore are not recognized by the government and are denied access to social services including education and medial care.  Life in Algodón is difficult—to say that the living conditions or amenities are sub-standard is an understatement.  Homes are made of loose wooden boards with dirt floors and leaky roofs.  There is no indoor plumbing, only communal latrines.  Potable water is rare and electricity is extremely unreliable.

When Children of the Nations first came to Algodón in the summer of 1997, we found two teachers trying to teach in a makeshift classroom consisting of a mud hut with cracks in the walls and a roof that allowed rain in, broken desks (of which there were only twenty), and no teaching materials.  One of the teachers worked with thirty-seven primary-aged students, the other with thirty intermediate-aged students.  These  sixty-seven students represented less than half of the school-aged children in the village.

Later that year, Children of the Nations officially launched the Algodón Village Partnership Program focusing on education and nutrition.  By 1998, thanks to our partners and in-country staff, we had completed construction of a school building and a feeding center.  Only six years later, Algodón had its first-ever high school graduate.  Today, several young adults from Algodón are enrolled in our University Student Program!

Through our Village Partnership Program, aided by our committed staff and encouraged by the graduation of dozens of young people in this village, school enrollment continues to increase. Parents, of which an estimated 90 percent can neither read nor write, now have hope for their children's future.  The continual growth of the Algodón Village Partnership Program, coupled with our children’s success, will have a tremendous impact on the socio-economic growth of not only this batey, but the nation of the Dominican Republic as well.

 

Algodón Village Partnership Program Details
Our Village Partnership Program in Algodón is a community-based ministry that provides a coming-alongside sort of partnership with the community leaders to provide training, education, spiritual encouragement, and resources empowering them to raise their children and reach their goal of self-sustainability. Working through the local village leadership of Algodón, Children of the Nations continually assesses the unique needs of this community, updating programs and strategies to best meet these needs.

Initial Assessed Needs:

  • No Access to education or medical care (due to lack of citizenship)
  • Lack of nutrition

Date Village Partnership Program launched:

1997

Number of children currently enrolled in program:

147

Programs/Services currently provided: