Location: Muñoz, a small rural community ten minutes outside of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Read more about the community of Muñoz.
School History: The school opened in April of 2007 and was founded, taught and directed entirely by local Haitian university students who were already struggling to make ends meet in their own lives but who saw the desperate need for education in this village. They teach in Haitian Creole, and though most of their students are Haitian, there are some Dominican students who attend as well and are learning Haitian Creole. Lafontant Evants and Garry Jacques first contacted Project Esperanza to ask for help with funding for this new school. Because P.E. was already working to make enough to fund our efforts to serve youth we met during a 2006 street census, as well as the grassroots school in Padre Granero we had taken responsibility over, we were not able to donate money upon the initial request, but did provide the school with paper, pencils, and other materials that allowed them to begin classes. They began holding weekday classes for children and weekend classes for illiterate adults in a Seventh Day Adventist church building.
In June of 2007 Project Esperanza was able to raise specific funds in order to provide teachers with the salaries for the three months of school that they had worked without pay!
In July and August 2007 we were again unable to find funding for their school. Teachers struggled to make a living. However, we provided all the support and encouragement that we could and in September of 2007 the school opened for the new school year with only 3,000 pesos (about $94), a small amount of school supplies we were able to donate, and a total faith that they could keep going.
Their faith was met as we were able to raise funds for teacher payments successfully for October 2007 and every month following until 2009. At this point, with the declining US and global economy as well as the graduation and therefore separation of many in our original student organization at Virginia Tech, Project Esperanza's monthly income severely declined. However, teachers have remained committed and made sacrifices to allow the school to continue. It was necessary to begin renting a new school building in January 2011. The school is no longer affiliated with the Seventh Day Adventist Church but is a community school with a non-denominational Christian base.
Entering the 2011-2012 school year, teachers remained 4 months behind on their monthly pay. We began a student sponsorship program to try to engage more supporters personally in the school, as well as to help struggling parents provide uniforms, books, and some sort of snack as many children come to school hungry.
Morning school - 8am to 12pm, one teaching director and two teachers so 3 classrooms
Afternoon school - 1:30pm to 5:30pm, one teaching director and two teachers so 3 classrooms
Evening School - 6pm to 9pm, one teacher teaching adult literacy and general education, one classroom
The school currently covers grades pre-school to 6th grade.
Current monthly budget:
Rent on building - $260 US
Teacher salaries for 7 director/teaching positions - $808 US
Snack for students - $104 US
Maintenance - $30 US
Total - $1,202 US