Help us support the Batey Libertad community and safeguard our employees during the COVID-19 crisis
Since 2009, Yspaniola has worked to support the community of Batey Libertad by focusing on providing access to high-quality education for children and young adults. In moments of crisis, we have also raised emergency funds to meet pressing health and economic needs.
In the Dominican Republic, the impacts of the global COVID-19 crisis are especially hard-hitting for marginalized communities like bateys, which are home mainly to Haitian immigrants and people of Haitian descent.
A 24-hour “lockdown” would be impractical in the Dominican Republic due to the high number of people who live a daily hand-to-mouth existence. People in informal jobs make up an estimated 57% of the workforce. Over 40% of these individuals earn less than minimum wage, so any family where the head of the household is working informally is likely to suffer from poverty.
A country-wide shutdown of all non-essential businesses and a police-enforced mandatory curfew from 5pm-6am have meant that many families in Batey Libertad have already experienced a sharp drop in income as the main breadwinners can no longer go to work, pushing them into even deeper poverty overnight.
In addition, both the local public school and Yspaniola’s Learning Center are closed to prevent the spread of the illness. This means that children are no longer receiving free meals at school or healthy snacks in Yspaniola’s food program. Alleviating hunger for children and families during this crisis is the most vital immediate need.
The Dominican government has taken steps to assist families, however, assistance is not available for Haitian migrants, or the thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent who do not possess a Dominican identity card (cédula). The majority of inhabitants in Batey Libertad fall into these vulnerable groups. In recent days, Haitian workers in the Dominican Republic have expressed fears that for them, hunger is an even more imminent threat than COVID-19,
It is unclear how long this crisis will last, and we know things may get worse. In the immediate future, Yspaniola will do whatever we can to ease this crisis in the batey, and to protect the future of our programs which have benefitted up to 160 students a year and 13 local employees.
We must act now, since our key income-generating activities including service trips, on-site visits, summer camp, internships and other activities will be impossible for the foreseeable future, and this has already directly impacted our income for the coming months.
We plan to use the funds raised by this campaign for both emergency aid for vulnerable families as well as vital support to cover the basic costs of maintaining Yspaniola’s infrastructure and staff throughout this crisis, so that we will be able to keep as many Yspaniola employees on payroll as possible, ready for when we're able to start our programs back up.
At this time, with a goal of $10,000 we plan to use 50% of the funds for immediate COVID-19 relief, and 50% for infrastructural crisis support. We will provide updates via our regular newsletters, facebook and instagram accounts, or you can write to us at: email@example.com. We understand it is a hard time for everyone, and appreciate that not everybody will be in a position to make a gift. We are deeply grateful for any support you can provide.
**UPDATE: We have increased our appeal goal to $20,000! Funds raised above the original $10,000 target will be used as infrastructural and program support; these funds will be vital in gettting our educational programs up and running again as soon as is safe to do so, and help ensure we can keep paying the salaries of our local teachers, assistants, caretaker, food program coordinator and others. Thank you!**
$20 can provide emergency food and basic necessities for a family with children
$100 can provide this support for five families with children
$250 covers rent and a caretaker for our Learning Center for one month
$1,000 pays our staff health insurance and social security plan for one month
$2,000 provides food & basic necessity support for up to 50 families
$5,000 will help safeguard a teacher's role for the 2020-2021 academic year
We understand that this is a very difficult time for everyone. Thank you for supporting Batey Libertad and Yspaniola today!