EquipUs is all about Equipping For Life. And what better way to do that than to help those whose mission is to serve others?
Background: Life in the bateys of the Dominican Republic.
EquipUs works to address significant quality of life challenges for people in these communities. The batey system is a loose equivalent to what North Americans would call refugee camps or communities. Residents often have no legal status or standing as they are from Haiti. A batey is ‘provided’ by the farming conglomerates (usually sugar cane) and residents work the cane fields for about $14.00/day (U.S.). There are no amenities.
The needs addressed by EquipUs and our Helping Hands volunteer teams include housing improvement, education, water purification, and medical clinics. Another significant need is solar latrines as the bateys have very little sewage service.
Summary: In bateys where these needs have been addressed, the disease rate has been reduced by as much as 84%. This makes a great difference in the everyday quality of life for all. EquipUs works with local leaders and communities, not for them. We work for long-term healthy relationships and do all we can to avoid creating dependency.
Church/Community Center: In the communities described above, there are no buildings or facilities dedicated to public use, i.e., a City Hall or town center. Consequently, the local church is the only facility to house a public gathering of any kind. That has its drawbacks but also presents an advantage to EquipUs.