Dominican Republic

SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children grow up with the care, protection and relationships they need to become their strongest selves (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Dominican Republic ).

The Dominican Republic is a country of 10.7 million people located on the second largest island in the Caribbean region neighbouring with Haiti. The largest city and also the capital is Santo Domingo. Poverty is higher in rural areas, which means many people move to cities in search of a better life. Almost 84% of the total population live in urban areas, and the number is growing. As cities cannot keep up with the urban growth, many families end up living in urban slums. Children and young people who grow up here lack access to safe housing and sanitation, medical care and education.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in the Dominican Republic since 1979.

Children are at risk

Nearly 28% of the total population of the Dominican Republic is under the age of 15. Although the country is one of the fastest growing economies in the region, the children living there face many challenges including lack of access to health and primary education. They are at risk of being exploited and forced to work. Children without parental care need special support and protection so that they can grow up in safety
1 in 10
Children is forced to work in the Dominican Republic

Child labour

Around 1 in 10 children is forced to work in the Dominican Republic. Many children are obliged to support their struggling families with income. They often work in extremely hazardous conditions in agriculture, domestic work, construction, street work and even scavenging in landfills. Working in these extremely dangerous environments can affect children mentally and physically. The increase in tourism, human and drug trafficking all contribute to children being exploited for commercial gains.

Of children do not finish primary school

Low level of education

Around 40% of children do not finish primary school in the Dominican Republic. Even though school is free, many children can’t afford to go there because they can’t pay for the uniform or basic school materials. Families need more support so that their children can stay in school. Those that are able to attend receive a very low level of academic education. In addition, 1 in 4 teenage girls drop out of school due to pregnancy.

Of people live in poverty in Dominican Republic

Losing parental care

Over 40% of people live in poverty, with over 10% living in extreme poverty. In some case, when families cannot access support, children lose the care of their families. Many end up fending for themselves: the National Council for Children and Adolescents supports 18,000 children who have no home. The main two reasons why children are do not have a home is because families cannot care for them, or because they leave due to violence in the home.

Together we can make a difference for children in Dominican Republic

Can stay together
Grow up in our care
Children and young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Two brothers supporting each other on their way to independence. SOS Children’s Villages supports young men and women while they get ready to live on their own (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Dominican Republic).

Let’s keep on protecting children and young people!

Many children have been able to find a safe and secure home. With your help, we can continue to change their lives