The path to quality education in the Dominican Republic
In the Dominican Republic, the quest for quality education is a challenge, but it's a challenge that Raquel Santos, Director of Programs for SOS Children’s Villages Dominican Republic, has been keenly addressing for the past eight years.
Drawing on her experiences as a clinical psychologist and her past work with HIV/AIDS-affected children, Raquel explains, “My background allows me to be aware of the mental health and psychosocial support needs of the vulnerable children we support in our SOS programs.”
Education, Raquel emphasizes, is paramount for the youth of the Dominican Republic.
“A good education prepares them for the competitive job market and ensures they secure stable employment.”
However, she laments the current state of the nation's education system.
“The government doesn’t prioritize investing in this sector. Teachers often have large classes, with little training or qualifications, leading to children wasting their time in the classroom and, ultimately, losing motivation.”
This lack of quality education has dire consequences.
“Children who give up on school often end up as delinquents,” she says. “They get recruited by gangs and get involved with drugs. They not only consume them but often start selling them, which is extremely dangerous.”
Raquel further underscores the life-threatening risks these children face, noting that the police in the Dominican Republic can be deadly in their handling of youth crime.
But thanks to donors like you, we can offer opportunities for a brighter future.
At SOS Children’s Villages Dominican Republic, the focus is on bridging the educational gap for vulnerable children. Through psychological evaluations, working with educational specialists, and providing after-school tutors, we ensure these children receive comprehensive support.
She concludes with an inspiring note on the organization's success, “Our passing rate for children is 80%, a testament to the hard work these children put into their education.”
For Raquel and her team, every child's educational success is a milestone, a beacon of hope for the future.