Yspaniola Incorporated

Yspaniola empowers marginalized batey communities of Dominicans and Haitians in the Dominican Republic. Through university scholarships, a literacy center, and community development, we provide resources for individuals and bateys to access local networks and rise out of poverty.
Aug 27, 2012

A New Literacy Center!

Books + Smiles
Books + Smiles

It has been a busy and exciting summer for Yspaniola: in July, we opened a Literacy Center in Batey Libertad!

At the beginning of the year, Yspaniola interns based in Esperanza began informally tutoring children in Batey Libertad.

Given the amount of interest in these sessions and the dedication of local staff to the project, in June Yspaniola began a series of community meetings and focus groups to determine if and how to move forward with creating a space in Batey Libertad devoted to learning. The community rallied behind the idea of a Literacy Center, a safe space for children to read and participate in extracurricular tutoring sessions led by Yspaniola staff and interns. 

June and July were devoted to furbishing the center, which became truly an international effort: children in Batey Libertad painted the center; community members built a table and a bookshelf; a local school donated desks; Dominican volunteers offered books; Yumiko, an intern, reached out to friends and family who bought school supplies, books, and provided funding; and a service-learning trip from Sudbury, MA brought supplies as well.

As August progresses, we are preparing a registration process to begin a semester of learning that corresponds to the local school calendar and includes parents and the schoolteachers in their children's education. By working with parents and closely monitoring student engagement and improvement, the Literacy Center will be a resource for Batey Libertad and give its children more possibilities and hope.



Apr 24, 2012

Yspaniola Announces New Scholarship Recipients

Yspaniola is thrilled to announce two new scholars from Batey Libertad to the University Scholarship Program. This April, after a selection process of applications, essays, and interviews, an impartial committee selected Ramón Sánchez and Julio Louis to receive Yspaniola scholarships to further their education. The new scholars will study alongside current scholars Mayra and Fede at UTESA (Technological University of Santiago) beginning late May.

Ramón is an outstanding student who participates as a trainer with Deportes Para La Vida, a program that educates youth about HIV/AIDS. He will study medicine with the eventual goal of becoming a doctor to provide healthcare to communities with few resources.

Julio is an excellent student who currently studies at UTESA. He has a gift for languages and is studying tourism, with an interest in ecotourism. He is also interested in Haitian-Dominican relations and history.

A special welcome to the program’s new Scholarship Coordinator, Mirta Aguirre. Mirta, originally from Argentina, is a passionate educator and is looking forward to working with Mayra, Fede, the new scholars and the rest of the Yspaniola Local Program team. Yspaniola and the new scholars will work closely in the next few weeks in preparation for enrollment. We are very excited to welcome Ramón and Julio to the program and wish them luck in their studies!

Jan 23, 2012

Scholarship Updates, Supporting Education Locally

The UVA group with Batey Libertad students
The UVA group with Batey Libertad students

Last week on January 14, Yspaniola scholars Mayra and Fede began their first day of classes at the Technological University of Santiago (UTESA), after spending a holiday break with their families. Each scholar is taking seven courses this semester, with classes such as cultural civics, French, English, mathematics, and the sciences. Yspaniola is proud to announce the expansion of the scholarship program: this winter, students from Batey Libertad are applying through an extensive selection process to have the opportunity to study alongside the current scholars in Santiago.  An impartial committee will select two new scholars in April. Good luck to all those who apply!

A group of 11 students from the University of Virginia traveled to the Dominican Republic for a ten-day service-learning trip with Yspaniola. The students stayed with families in Batey Libertad, worked with youth from the local primary school, and engaged with the community while learning about sustainable development.  Some students plan to return to Batey Libertad and apply as interns or volunteers with Yspaniola. 

This weekend Dominican volunteers will be working with students from Batey Libertad Escuela Básica in our newly developing Hermanitos tutoring and mentoring program, which connects university students from Santiago and other parts of the country with primary schools students from the community. 

The women of the Microenterprise Project have finished the first cycle of paper maché house construction and have begun to sell their work! Next week, the group will meet to discuss the next steps, planning for a new cycle of production, and involving more young women in the project.

Reading to younger students in the community
Reading to younger students in the community
Yspaniola Scholar Mayra and Sarah, volunteer
Yspaniola Scholar Mayra and Sarah, volunteer
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