Children and adults who receive an education have broader opportunities for life and career. The ability to earn an income allows them to provide for their families of origin as well as their own children and spouses, which can ripple outward to transform whole neighbourhoods and the larger international community.
The community of Los Alcarrizos in Dominican Republic has a growing population of more than 310,000 people, most of whom live in poor conditions with little infrastructure. Thousands of children receive no education because of extremely limited space in the public schools. To address this, Careforce International partnered with Juventud para Cristo (YFC) in the development and expansion of the Lighthouse School, constructing a primary and secondary school, as well as a vocational training centre. In the future, Lighthouse plans to expand to Villa Altagracia, a local community with a high unemployment rate.
Lighthouse School and Vocational School
Lighthouse School currently has over 1100 students in pre-school to grade 12 receiving an education. An additional 300 students attend the vocational school, which provides valuable training in English, business management, accounting, computer science, mechanics, and other subjects. A high school diploma combined with certified technical training will allow them to find jobs to either start a career or pay for further education at the university level. To date, more than 3,000 students have benefited from these life-changing initiatives.
Most of the students at Lighthouse School come to school without anything to eat and usually do not get anything until they go back home and one of their parents comes home from work to cook for them. It is very hard for the students to learn on an empty stomach. In 2013, Lighthouse launched a breakfast program that offers a balanced meal to the most needy kids at the school. The program currently feeds approximately 100 kids and will be expanded as funds allow.
After 22 years of contributing to the community in Los Alcarrizos, leaders at the Lighthouse feel a mandate to help other communities that are equally in need as Los Alcarrizos was when Lighthouse was founded. The community of Villa Altagracia has been identified and first steps have been taken to start a new Lighthouse Project. As part of this vision, purified water would be provided to a community that otherwise needs to boil their water before using it. A vocational centre would be built where the youth from the community can learn different trades and be able to hold a job in a community that has an unemployment rate of more than 42%.
We will also build on the learning and success of the Lighthouse School in Los Alcarrizos to bring education to Villa Altagracia for K-12. The Lighthouse School leadership and management have been working with the people of Villa Altagracia for many months in preparation for the launch of this project. The first step will be to purchase land for the water purification system.