What is a Grassroots School?
Grassroots schools is the term Project Esperanza uses for schools the organization supports that began in Haitian churches throughout Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic in order to educate Haitian immigrant children living in the Dominican Republic. Because the Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti and, while still considered a developing country itself, is a wealthier country than Haiti with more work opportunities, there is a very high rate of both legal and illegal Haitian immigration. Haitians that immigrate to the Dominican Republic face many challenges including learning Spanish and facing discrimination from their neighboring country. While some do integrate their children into Dominican public schools, an act that increases as a family spends more time in the country, many Haitian immigrant children remain without schooling.
Haitian churches in communities with high populations of Haitian immigrants are recognizing this problem and have been attempting to begin schools in their churches. This is not easy as funding is hard to come by and teachers themselves face a difficult situation already, some having not yet achieved their high school diploma. However, we continue to find churches that are making the necessary sacrifices to educate children in their communities. Currently, all grassroots schools provide education at the pre-school and elementary level.
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