DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: New project at Salesian center renovates classrooms for art education
(MissionNewswire) The “Dreams and Hopes for Children” project initiated by the Agency for International Cooperation of South Korea (KOICA) has launched at the Doña Chucha center in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The project included the development of new classrooms and art education initiatives at the Doña Chucha center which serves girls and adolescents living in situations of vulnerability.
Operated by missionaries who are part of the Salesian Mary Help of Christians parish, the center includes a shelter for girls at risk and a day school for boys and girls. It is one of 11 centers facilitated by the Muchachos y Muchachas con Don Bosco network.
Julia Ann, a Korean volunteer who facilitated the project, has been overseeing the renovation of the workshops and the creation of artistic and craft projects at the Doña Chucha school. She began by transforming a computer room into a space where art can also be taught. Then she worked on the renovation of a classroom where girls learn handiworks.
Currently she is working on promoting an “Educational and practical manual of art and artistic education from recycled materials” which will be distributed to other Salesian centers. Julia Ann’s projects have benefited 85 girls who are living at the center and another 29 boys and girls who attend the school.
The center inaugurated the new classrooms at the end of November. After the unveiling of the commemorative plaques and the opening of the classrooms, the girls at the center expressed their joy and gratitude through a song and a moving speech.
“The work of Salesian missionaries in the Dominican Republic and in programs around the globe goes beyond education in reading and writing,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “We aim to serve the whole person by making sure that basic needs are met and that youth have an opportunity to learn skills that enhance their life, bring them joy and encourage their passion for learning.”
Nearly half of youth under the age of 18 live in poverty in the Dominican Republic, according to UNICEF. Even though the country’s economy has been steadily improving since 1996, the country’s poor still struggle to get enough food to eat and to access safe drinking water and adequate housing. Only 30 percent of youth finish primary school and only 18 percent finish secondary school on time. Schools are in poor shape with nearly half having no access to safe drinking water and more than 60 percent lacking adequate bathroom facilities.
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UNICEF – Dominican Republic