Carraballo/Ascension: From Despair to Hope
Dominican Republic is known to most Canadians as a fabulous vacation destination with exquisite beaches and luxury five star resorts. While this is true, there is another side to this country that is comprised of very poor people who struggle for survival each day and strive to hang on to hope for a better future.
The poorest Dominicans and stateless Haitians live in small villages like Carraballo/Ascension, which is hidden away in the cane fields of Puerto Plata. Generations of people with Haitian decent have been born and living in the Dominican Republic their whole lives. Even though they were born in the Dominican they are not recognized as Dominicans because they do not have a birth certificate. Almost all of them have never seen or stepped foot in Haiti.
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Click here to read the stories of sisters Lilliana and Ani, and Rosario and her children. The stories of hardship and suffering that children and their families living in Carraballo/Ascension village experience are hard to bear. Yet, even in these difficult and sad situations there are signs of hope.
With a focus on bringing sustainable solutions to the community, our project Caraballo /Ascension, managed by Megan Ratnam, delivers hope and opportunities for the impoverished and vulnerable to break out of the cycle of poverty that had trapped generations.
Our mission in Carraballo/Ascension is transforming it from a place of despair to one of hope. Lives are being changed right now!
Haitian and Dominican students are receiving school uniforms and studying in classes together
Children of Haitian decent who were “stateless” are now receiving identification in the form of birth certificates and passports
English classes are being taught to all children and adults, increasing their opportunities for jobs
Community members have affordable access to a vehicle used to transport students to school or sick people to the hospital
Families in crisis are having their basic needs met
Newly elected leaders are striving for unity between the Haitian and Dominican populations
While all of this is great work, the reality is that a lot more work has to be done – that YOU can make possible. While Lilliana and Ani are being looked after there are many more children like them who still need your help to reach their potential. Like Rosario and her children, who rebuilt their lives through the support of caring donors, there are many more children and families that still struggle daily and are in need of your support.
- $35 can help provide school uniforms and shoes to allow a child to go to school
- $60 can help provide transportation for a high school student for a full semester
- $100 can help provide a passport, which is required for students to enter university or to get an employment visa so they can work in Dominican
- $1,000 can help provide a homeless family living in a tin shack with a basic cinder block home that will keep them safe and protected from the elements
Any gift you can give will go a long way to help with the poorest of the poor break out from the despair of poverty and create hope for their future!
Liliana who is 13 and Ani who is 9 are sisters who have experienced suffering their whole life.
Their father died many years ago when he accidentally fell off a coconut tree. When Megan first met the girls in 2010, they were living with their mother in a tin shack and were very malnourished. Their mother Tania was sick and not able to look after her children. Thanks to generous donors, we were able to purchase a simple house in Ascension for Tania, Liliana and Ani to move into and be protected from the elements. Liliana and Ani were also put on a feeding program, which improved their health & nourishment. Unfortunately Tania’s health did not improve and she died in 2011, leaving Lilliana and Ani as orphans with no one to take care of them. Megan then organized for another family in Carraballo / Ascension to look after these orphans and through the generous support of caring donors Liliana and Ani now have their basic needs met! Even though they have suffered much hardship they have hope for a brighter future thanks to the generosity of Speroway donors.
Rosario is a woman who had was a lost everything she had in the January 2010 Earthquake that devastated Haiti. Rosario was nine months pregnant during the earthquake when she lost her home and all her belongings. Rosario gave birth to her third child Hennessey on a side of the road, which was lined with the rubble of debris of collapsed houses. Rosario was transported to the Dominican Republic for urgent medical attention for her and her baby. Unable to return to Haiti, because she did not have the means, she managed to find her way to Ascension Village. Megan was able to find her and her children a home in Ascension village where Rosario and her family could live. Rosario is rebuilding her life and finding hope in Ascension Village. Today, Rosario is a community leader and is in charge of the children programs in the Church in Caraballo/Ascension where 130 children get together on Saturday afternoon to play, sing songs and be taught key life lessons by Rosario. She has also been proactive in building a small chicken coup where she raises chickens for her families’ consumption and as a source of income. Rosario now envisions a future that is bright and filled with hope for her four children.