When visitors enter the school under the church in Tres Brazos, the children stand and greet them in unison. They are smiling and quiet, waiting for instructions from their teacher. One cannot help but be very impressed with the student and teachers.
But not too long ago, this school was merely a dream... a dream that has now come true due to a partnership between the Tres Brazos community, Igelsia De Dios Pentecostal M.I. and the Foundation for Peace.
FFP mission teams and local church and community members have been doing construction in this community together since 2001. In 1998, the church had been destroyed by Hurricane George. Due to lack of funds, the congregation was only able to rebuild the walls. For the next 3 years, they used a tarp for a roof.
With the help of the FFP in 2001, the first floor was extended and a concrete roof was installed. The following year the second story was constructed. In 2003-2004, the sanctuary was completed on the second floor allowing for the school to be established in the basement. These efforts are now having a dramatic impact on the neighborhood.
Before the construction of the school, a family's only choice was to send their children to crowded public schools with little or no supplies. Private schools were beyond their means. This school has given families the opportunity to provide their children a quality education in a safe environment close to home. In addition, the school accepts children who have not succeeded in other schools or who have been expelled due to poor behavior. Under the guidance of Director Margareta Paredes, and Pastor Cecilio Ramirez, these children are finding success at school and changing their futures.
In January 2005, FFP purchased an adjacent property to the church to allow for expansion of the school on the first floor. During the summer of 2005, a team from the US worked hand-in-hand with the Dominicans to build the larger school. As a result, the school has grown from 30 children in one classroom to more than 100 in five separate classes.
In the spring of 2005, Pastor Ramirez approached the Foundation for Peace Education Director Wendy Buttner with a proposal for a student sponsorship program that would provide funds to pay teachers and tuition for the poorest of students. The Foundation for Peace Education Division has now established the Dominikids; Child Sponosrship program. For $10 US a month per child, sponsors can provide an education to a child and a modest salary to a teacher, so that she/he can feed his or her own family. Click here to learn more or e-mail your questions to the Education Director at email@example.com.
While an education is critical, it is not sufficient in addressing the many imperative needs of the children. One key need is the lack of healthcare. Along with the rest of the Tres Brazos community, the children receive free medical care each summer when Dominican and U.S. doctors come to provide a medical clinic.
During those clinics, it has been painfully obvious that the children have needed access to affordable clean water and healthcare throughout the year. With the help of Healing Waters International, a water purification system is now housed in the church-school complex. In other communities, such a service has greatly decreased a number of illness, particularly those due to parasites.
With more than triple the student population in 2005, this school needs more furniture and teaching supplies. One is easily impressed with the knowledge the children demonstrate, realizing all of it was mastered by rote learning or copying information. One would like to imagine what they could accomplish if they were provided even a fraction of what their peers in the U.S. use every day.
Thanks to donations from the Roseart Corporation and individuals in the US, the children received a backpack full of school supplies the first day of the 2005-2006 school year.
If you would like to sponsor a child in Tres Brazos, visit to the Dominikids: Child Sponsorship Program. You can help continue the improvements in this needy community.
Their current needs include:
If you are interested in providing these items, please email Wendy Patchin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Monetary donations to help obtain these items for the school can be made at the Donate Now section of this website.