U.S. Visitors Transform a Life
Recently members of the NPH USA Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Region’s Junior Board helped provide basic services for a woman in the Dominican Republic.
Reported by Isabel Puchades
Communication Officer, NPH Dominican Republic
September 16, 2016
About three years ago at NPH Dominican Republic, our outreach programs started to focus on our own employees. Originally our assistance was generally directed to our neighbors in nearby communities, but then we realized that it was easier (and it made more sense) to meet the needs of people who were closer to our family.
Kirsten, more commonly known as “Kiki”, is our dedicated hyper-friendly Outreach and Special Projects Coordinator from Germany. She has been with NPH DR since the very beginning when it opened in 2003. The funds for each project come from groups of volunteers who gathered the money and directly work on the construction. Currently, the waiting list includes more than 50 employees.
This time it was Ramona’s turn. She is a cook in our home, but has also worked as a caregiver in the past. To our surprise, the help she requested was not intended for herself, but for her mother Doña Estela. This elderly woman lives in a small brick house that was constructed in 2002 by the government through a social assistance program. Her former dwelling was destroyed by cyclone George in 1998.
The older house had neither a toilet nor a kitchen, and over the years she has been cooking in her bedroom (with charcoal and soot ) and using an improvised latrine outside. That is precisely what these projects could offer her with a small kitchen, a proper toilet, and a new roof made of tin and wood. The program made an exception with her case in offering help to an employee’s relative.
On this occasion, a group of 13 girls from the NPH USA Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Region’s Junior Board provided the main workforce for five full days. It was coordinated by Kiki, and also incorporated neighbors and family members. The result is an improved quality of life for an elderly woman through very basic services, which are often a luxury in many impoverished areas of the Dominican Republic.
The poverty index in this country reached 40.9% of the total population in 2014 (World Bank). We consider it part of our mission to commit to lowering this number in as many ways as possible.
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Photo above: Members of the NPH USA Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Junior Board at work.
Photos below: A typical “house” in Doña Estela’s neighborhood; the future kitchen; Kiki (third from left) with Doña Estela in front of the finished kitchen