Yspaniola's Learning Centers serves 165 children aged 4-17 in Batey Libertad, a marginalized community in the agricultural heart of the Dominican Republic. The Learning Center provides critical access to small-group instruction and Spanish literacy support for children in the community, including those who speak Haitian Creole as their first language. This project will support materials to sustain and expand our educational programs for at-risk youth in the community.
The Dominican education system is one of Latin America's poorest. Classrooms are overcrowded, often with 30-40 students per teacher. In Dominican bateys, deeply impoverished communities that developed around the sugarcane industry, students face significant barriers to educational achievement. Only 21% of teens attend secondary school, compared to a national average of 51%. 1 in 5 children under age 15 live without their parents, further underscoring the unique challenges faced by our students.
The Batey Libertad Learning Center offers students a welcoming, small-group environment where they benefit from personalized instruction and extra literacy support. With access to our library of Spanish language books, students enjoy ample opportunities to explore books at their leisure and develop a lifelong interest in reading and learning. In addition, our teaching team is comprised exclusively of members from the community, who act as inspirational role models for our young learners.
The Learning Center offers a vertical model of educational attainment that will grow as students graduate from our program to become the teachers and mentors for a new generation of children. With this project's support, we aim to incorporate preschool classes and teen mentorship to feed into our existing university scholarship program, thereby offering higher education to the most vulnerable youth in the Dominican Republic. Through education, families may finally break the cycle of poverty.