Known for its white-sand beaches and soaring mountain ranges, the Dominican Republic (D.R.) is rich in natural beauty—but its scenic tourist destinations conceal a large income gap dividing rich from poor, with the poorest half of the population receiving less than one-fifth the national income. Though the economy has experienced growth in recent years, unemployment remains a major challenge. As a result, many seek work outside the country to help provide for their families: Remittances from the U.S. alone account for 10 percent of the gross domestic product. At the same time, an estimated 800,000 individuals from neighboring Haiti have illegally relocated to the D.R. to seek better jobs, often finding discrimination and difficult working conditions instead.
In the D.R., HOPE partners with Esperanza International to provide opportunity through a variety of programs that meet clients’ physical, economic, and spiritual needs. As many as 40 percent of clients are Haitian, targeting a deeply underserved population that has traditionally been overlooked in the Dominican Republic. In addition to small loans and biblically based business training, Esperanza works with a network of local partners to provide an extensive array of complementary services to its clients—including preventive health care; dental clinics; and literacy, health, vocational, and computer training. With a strong commitment to holistic ministry, Esperanza integrates times of devotion and prayer into regular disbursal and repayment meetings.
Armando Martinez – El Seibo, Dominican Republic
Armando has turned a lifelong interest in mechanics into a productive enterprise—and is passing on his skills to a new generation of Dominicans. Read More
Sources: CIA World Factbook, the World Bank, BBC, Financial Access Initiative
Information Last Updated: September 2012