Vi er i Dominican Republic

Vi er i Dominican Republic

Some facts about the Dominican Republic

Smiling faces, SOS Children's Village Los Mina - photo: SOS Archives
Smiling faces, SOS Children's Village Los Mina – photo: SOS Archives
The Dominican Republic forms part of the Antilles. It covers the oriental side of Hispaniola, the second largest island in the Caribbean after Cuba. Neighbouring Haiti occupies the other half of Hispaniola, making the island one of only two in the Caribbean that is shared by two states.In 1844, the Dominican Republic became an independent nation when a group of revolutionaries seized power from the Haitian rulers of Hispaniola. Remarkably, independence was won long before the abolishment of slavery in the region and the decolonization of other Caribbean islands.

The Dominican Republic is mainly inhabited by people of mixed European and African origins. Santo Domingo, the country's capital, is a melting pot of cultures.Many foreign visitors travel to the Dominican Republic for vacation. Tourism therefore accounts for an important share of the country's gross domestic product. The total population of the Dominican Republic is roughly 10 million.

Poverty, HIV, and Commercial Sexual Exploitation Remain Pressing Challenges 

Situation of the children in the Dominican Republic

The combination of widespread, structural poverty and a comparatively high HIV rate particularly affect the country's most vulnerable segment of population: Dominican children. More than one million children in the Dominican Republic live in poverty and roughly 578,000 children under the age of 15 are without parental care. Around 20 per cent of them are orphans.
Among the most relevant factors that increase the likelihood of a child losing parental care are: child pregnancy, chronic diseases such as HIV, mental or physical disabilities and prison sentences of the child's parents.Children whose parents have contracted the HIV virus suffer the effects of economic hardship. Additionally, their families are often being discriminated against and stigmatised. A high number of children become orphans because their parents die from AIDS. Many of these children end up in the streets where they face a life under precarious circumstances. In order to survive, they are forced to work and give up school.

The Dominican Republic Child Labour Survey indicates that roughly 15 per cent of all Dominican children aged 5-14 are engaged in labour activities. As soon as they stop going to school, their lives are often marked by a vicious circle of drugs, crime and violence. Approximately 17,000 children who participate in the labour force do so without attending school. The percentage is particularly high for boys and for children who live in rural areas.

SOS Children's Villages in the Dominican Republic