Photos of volunteers here.
Parallel to wonderful natural conditions, Las Terrenas exhibits a number of
appalling social conditions. If left unattended they'll worsen. For instance:
alongside the illiterate persons there are those who speak 3-4 languages; next to
shacks and tin-roof houses downtown and everywhere there are newly-built
mansions, fancy hotels and shopping centers; hills and nearby mountains exhibit
new developments while the town shows the best and the worst of any rapidly
evolving community in which economic growth has come to a few while poverty
has stricken a much larger segment of the population.
Unfortunately, Las Terrenas also shows an ever-increasing environment of sexual
exploitation, with hundreds of young girls and women choosing, or forced into,
sexual commerce as the only way to some kind of financial security. In a
population in which 47% is under 19 years of age, sexual exploitation goes hand in
hand with the fact that even when 75% of the people say that they can read and
write 50% left school after fourth grade. Ignorance about health in general and
sexual health in particular is pervasive, leading to greater health risks such as
unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmittable diseases and condemning girls and
women to a cycle of poverty.
Higher literacy rates, training and education in technical and professional areas can
offer valuable alternatives, allowing people to learn basic skills and trades, so that
they can get jobs and employ themselves in decent and dignified ways.
Drawing from the community’s realities we are then driven by a holistic approach
We also feel that children and youth are particularly fragile and that work in their
behalf will help prevent the repetition of the cycle of poverty and abuse.
Cristina, from New
Haven, CT (USA), leading
workshop with boys and
"Be the change
you wish to see
in the world"
Incorporated in the