Our mission at Yspaniola is to provide high-quality education to the students of Batey Libertad. This typically looks like literacy classes, tutoring or other classes created to help students build their reading, comprehension and writing skills in Spanish. However, this summer, we decided to expand our programming to incorporate a six-week English class directed by our summer intern Emery Turner.
Most of our students at Yspaniola grow up bilingual, speaking Haitian Creole at home and Spanish in school. Yet many of them are so ambitious that they are eager to learn a third language, like English. And in the Dominican Republic, English is a helpful language to learn for many reasons.
In the DR, tourism is a very important industry and many of the tourists that visit this beautiful island either speak English as their first language or know more English than Spanish. Therefore, tourism-related jobs usually require their employees to know at least conversational English.
In addition, there are almost 11 million Dominicans in the world, of whom over two million have a permanent residence in the United States. Many of these Dominican-Americans visit the island regularly or send remittances home to support their family. According to World Bank data, in 2014 over US$4.5 billion was sent homebound from the US to the DR. This close connection between the two nations also motivates students to learn English, as many dream of one day visiting or moving to the United States.
We always aim to keep our classes interesting and fun. We also try to engage as many students as possible, and that’s why these classes cater to older students who have already graduated from our Learning Center programs, or have not been able to attend class this year due to our reduced COVID-19 schedule. We wanted to provide these students with something a little different from our regular programming that we hope will help them in the long-run.
Our older students at Yspaniola are not the only ones benefiting from the development of these English classes. One of our university scholarship holders, Daniel, is working as an assistant in the classroom alongside Emery. He is helping prepare lessons, translating when needed, and of course, practicing his English.
One of our students, Oriana, said, “I like English class because it is fun and every class I learn more things.” Like Oriana, all of our students want to learn as much as possible! We have had many students ask to join the class, but due to space constraints and COVID-19 restrictions we have had to limit the number of people that can be in the classroom at once. However, we hope to continue to provide more English classes in the upcoming academic year!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read our GlobalGiving update. Here at Yspaniola we are so thankful for all of our GlobalGiving Donors. It is thanks to your support that we are able to provide classes like these in the community of Batey Libertad! We can’t wait to update you on our progress as the year goes on. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Yspaniola Team