Lost and Found: Children of the Dominican Republic Advance Special #3021935

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The Dominican Republic is a nation built upon a historical foundation that includes genocide, slavery, and exploitation. Throughout the last 500 years the children of this island have been the victims of violence and abuse. Poverty and corruption have crippled this Caribbean nation and those who suffer the consequences most are the children.

For example, adolescent girls and boys as young as 11 and 12 years old are sexually abused by men who buy their innocence for the cost of a piece of bread. The men are unemployed and the children are simply hungry for food. Parents in financial straits will sell their children for a night or a lifetime of prostitution. Hunger, violence, child abuse, unemployment, and a high cost of living create a systemic social environment that destroys life.

The Dominican Evangelical Church (IED) was founded in 1922 as a united church with Methodist, Presbyterian, and Moravian roots. They have a history of social action providing education and medical care in the Dominican Republic. The IED recognizes the need to reach out to these children of poverty in an integrated manner. They have initiated a Vacation Bible School Extension Program for children in their local communities.

These programs take place once a week in the local communities served by the church. The Bible School includes teachings from the Bible, teaching Christian values, human and environmental health, addressing community issues, drama, arts, and music. In addition, the parents are invited for a time of fellowship and teaching after the children’s class. This is a time to listen and respond to the needs and hopes of the parents, to understand the difficulties that they face in raising their children in this society.

The IED churches minister to over 5,000 children and adolescents per year throughout the country via the Vacation Bible School Program. However, this is only a five day program held every summer and they lose contact with a majority of these children. The IED would like to enrich and expand their contact with these children and their families by extending their existing Vacation Bible School Program. In order to achieve this expanded goal the IED will provide 50% of the program costs and the remainder will be raised from the Advance Special.

Please help us respond to the needs of the children in the Dominican Republic.

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