People living in Garbage
CIGM Dominican Republic
In 2003 – Mustard Seed Communities became aware of a community of people living in the local garbage dump covering 13 acres called La Union in Sosua, Dominican Republic. This dump is within a few miles of the MSC home in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. After seeing it and hearing that another local organization was discontinuing their feeding program, MSC decided to step in and continue it. That summer, MSC began offering bi-monthly meals to the people of La Union. In early 2008 – CIGM opened a school for the children of La Union in the Dominican Republic. After a few years of offering monthly food packages, MSC wanted to do more to help address the real problem. Many Haitian refugees live and work in and around this large city dump and most of them are not able to read and write Spanish, the national language of the Dominican Republic. As such, the children, being illiterate, are not permitted to attend public schools. Without education, their chances of ever leaving the dump community are severely limited. In early 2008, CIGM opened an elementary school with the opportunity to attend free of charge for the children of La Union to learn to read and write.
The school in Batey La Union, has over 40 students who attend – they range in age from 4 to 14 years old. These students leave the dump to attend classes for 3 to 4 hours a day. The students attend the school in two shifts and each shift receives a meal. The academic program is based on the public school elementary program and teaches three subjects: Spanish, math and faith studies.