Sunday, April 4, 2010
A recent trip to Dominican Republic brought Isa Mundo volunteer, Maxine Croteau, to the town of Cabeza de Toro, located near the resort town of Punta Cana. Cabeza de Toro is a small community that is sustained economically by a handful of resorts that provide jobs to residents. It is here that we met one of Isa Mundo’s most recent collaborators, a local business owner and environmental scientist called Juan Carlos.
Juan Carlos gave us a tour of the town and talked to us about a school that is in need of help and that is mostly supported by charitable donations. Many of the students who attend Centro Educativo Cabeza de Toro are originally from Haiti and are between the ages of 6 and 17. Juan Carlos mentioned that both teachers and students are in need of school supplies and that several of the children that come from less fortunate households also need clothing, shoes, toiletries and toys.
Volunteers from Ottawa put the word out and collected a total of four huge suitcases! We could not believe the warm response that they received and the generosity that came from family and friends! Our volunteers got together with Juan Carlos, who brought them to the school to meet the Principal Professor Bonifacio. Once inside, the director proceeded to go through all of the collected items one by one, explaining to the volunteers how each of the donations will be used by the teachers or students. For instance, the soap and shampoo that was donated would be used by a handful of kids who regularly shower at the school before class because they do not have the means to do so at home.
Upon a brief tour of the school, our volunteers noticed the lack of computers in the classrooms. They were told that although the electricity and wireless internet is presently donated by a local electricity company, the school does not have enough computers and the ones that they currently have for students are not connected to the internet. The director hopes to someday have a room filled with computers to teach the children how to use basic word processing programs and how to use the internet to do research for their school projects. The tour also revealed a very limited library of older books. Prof. Bonifacio mentioned that one of his highest priorities is to obtain new books written in Spanish on all school subjects for the school’s library. He also mentioned hopes to expand the school yard to enable more students to play simultaneously, and to build a wall around the yard to prevent adults from giving or selling drugs to the kids through the existing wire fence. The execution of these projects will however depend on future volunteer aid and funding to the school.
Isa Mundo would like to thank everyone who donated items to the Centro Educativo Cabeza de Toro!