Located on the outskirts of the town of Consuelo, Barrio 41 is a neighbourhood struggling with poor access to health care & education, high rates of unemployment and poverty.
Many members of this community are of Haitian descent, and came to the DR hoping for a better life for their families. Many heads of households seek work in the nearby sugar cane plantations, known as bateys. Life here is hard, and racial discrimination is a harsh reality.
The project is called Plan de Desarrollo Social y Cultural Para los Bateyes (PLADESCULBA). The English translation is the Cultural and Social Development Plan for the Bateyes. Historically, the project has been referred to as “Jorge’s Project”, based on the founder’s name.
The project runs a pre-school program for 50 children, ages 2 to 7, to help prepare them to attend grade one. Many of these children do not receive proper nutrition from home and a hot meal is provided at the centre. The children are taught basic reading and writing and helped to socialize with other children in a nurturing environment. The goal is to support young children so that they have a better chance of success in school and in life, than many of their parents.
Behind the preschool building is a garden and pilot aquaponics (fish raising) project, whose goal is to grow nutritious food for use at the preschool, but to also teach local families to grow and maintain their own backyard gardens.
The long term goal of PLADESCULBA is to work with the adults of the community, to engage in a variety of community development programs, including training, income-generating activities, home gardens, animal husbandry, improvement of the environment and capacity building, so the community can truly become independent and strong.
Barrio 41 was hit hard by Hurricane Matthew. Rayjon was able to assist several families in making repairs to severely damaged homes. The daily meal for children in the preschool has meant more than ever.
This is a crucial moment for the community of Barrio 41: A lack of funding now could mean that progress is lost and families fall deeper into poverty.
There is a great need for programs that would provide women in the community with practical skills to help them provide for their families. Many mothers (and children) currently sift through the local garbage dump each day, scavenging for food scraps and any items that can be resold.
For more information about the current needs of this project, please click on the picture below: