Working in an International Organization in central London UK I became involved in 2 Projects:
1) CRISIS/Street Homeless
2) Kids' Company/out of school kids and teens.
Both heightened my knowledge and awareness of the key roles that both education and safe places contribute to child and adult life opportunities. I saw first-hand how illiteracy and trauma, often rooted in poverty and exploitation, led to out-of-school kids who were then, and later as adults, living out-of-society, in exploited situations and/or as street homeless, begging without the means/skills to play an active part in regular everyday life!
My Mission on leaving UK corporate life was to identify and relocate to a place where I could continue this work. This time focusing on Education to Change both the Current and Future Lives of those who had no realistic access to Education/Life Opportunities.
After research I decided on the Dominican Republic where Child exploitation is rife (ref: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ilab/resources/reports/child-labor/dominican-republic).
An added factor for me was the need among the displaced Haitian communities where few could access the State school system due to lack of documentation or poverty and their need for uniforms/books/fares!
Due diligence ruled out many expats, locals, or others. Sadly, here charity as a money-spinner is rife. Finally opting on a small Baptist church school serving the children of dispossessed Haitians. They were originally located in a rusted/rotting corrugated iron church and led by a qualified teacher, with zero except chairs and a 'blackboard'. The students however, all ages, were super-keen. Due diligence was successful and in 2013 started the project. As it expanded, we have been able to, with many thanks to another Pastor who provides space in exchange for maintenance and security, provide a formal education to students excluded from the State system!!
The current model offers Education from Preschool (older children were often being kept home to look after younger siblings) - a very valuable introduction to structured learning and Grades 1-4. Progression is by achievement vs age.
What we need - Educational Supplies and Nutrition. Basic educational materials are essential to effective learning! Nutrition also - many students will not have eaten the night/day before - hungry kids can't effectively learn! We also provide a daily meal to the Volunteer Staff who provide the full educational offer to 38 keen students who regularly attend regardless of the challenges in their lives.
Thanks for your prayers and consideration!!!