Last Updated: 19/01/2021

The Dominican Republic still has the highest COVID-19 infection rate among Caribbean countries and is experiencing a spike in cases. The country has also been battered this year by tropical storms and hurricanes. The government has reported over 170,000 positive COVID-19 cases and 2,400 related deaths as of Jan. 1. Medical care is limited, with some hospitals at or near full capacity. ICU beds are especially limited. A national curfew is in effect and face masks continue to be required in public.

All Compassion child development centers are closed. Staff members are providing physical and emotional support to families, including the delivery of over 142,000 food packs and 69,000 hygiene kits, while complying with guidelines. They are also working with local doctors to facilitate telehealth calls with families and have helped provide medical support to more than 7,000 individuals. Mentors and tutors are keeping in touch with children and youth through online meetings and social media.

How is Compassion Currently Operating in Dominican Republic?

Below, you will find the latest information on how Compassion is currently operating in the Dominican Republic, including status updates on center openings, letter delivery and gift delivery. This is the most current information we have, though it can change quickly. Please know that all children and their families are being checked in on regularly by staff, either in person or by phone, even if the Compassion center is not open for programming.

Are Compassion Centers Open?

Currently, all centers in the Dominican Republic are closed in order to abide by local guidelines. Staff members continue to call and check in on families, and in some communities they are able to visit children while obeying social distancing guidelines. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute over 142,000 food packs and 69,000 hygiene kits to children and their families!

Are Children Receiving Letters?

The majority of letters are delayed in the Dominican Republic, which means it may take longer for you to receive letters from your child. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

Are Gifts Being Delivered?

Gifts continue to be distributed in the Dominican Republic. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to an appropriate, verified caregiver, if necessary. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will be notified whether a gift has been designated as a child gift or family gift. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognizing that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

Story From the Field

Miguelina struggled to survive as a housecleaner even before COVID-19 hit the Dominican Republic. But as the government began to impose strict quarantine and curfew guidelines to curb the spread of the virus, Miguelina was soon utterly unable to provide for her two children, her parents and her grandmother — each of whom relied on her for everything

“Everything fell down when I found out about the pandemic,” says Miguelina. “Because of social distancing, I was not able to work, and I knew that at some point the food was going to run out. We were concerned, but my daughter Nicol and I had hoped that at some point the center would come to help us. They have always been with us in many difficult situations, and we knew that this would not be different.”

The family rationed the little food they had for 10 days. They were just about to run out when Yanitza, the director of Nicol’s child development center, arrived with bags of groceries.

“When Nicol saw me walking on the alley on the way to her house, she started jumping, and I heard her shouting, ‘You see, Mom. I told you the center would never let us down.’ The joy spread. The whole family was excited, praising God and jumping of joy,” says Yanitza.

Nicol and her family now regularly receive food baskets from the Compassion center. Thanks to the support of faithful sponsors and donors, the center is able to ensure that each child feels seen, loved and cared for.

How can I pray for the Dominican Republic?

Pray for churches as they minister to families affected by natural disasters combined with the challenges of the pandemic.

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