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Global Village Trip: Dominican Republic

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A team made up of Habitat Cabarrus staff and volunteers spent 5 days in the Dominican Republic (Jan 21 – 25).  The purpose was to better understand how our tithe funding along with tithe funding from other US affiliates is used there to help eliminate substandard housing. One full day was spent touring projects that had been completed or were in progress in Habitat DR’s target areas in Santo Domingo.  Visits to the completed projects revealed that these projects are completed incrementally (one improvement at a time) and are funded through microfinance loans that are paid back by the families. Tithe funds are used to fund part of the project with the microfinance loan funding the rest. The families in the DR are invested in the work on their homes in the same way our Habitat homeowners are.

The team spent two days putting in the foundation of a home for Jimmy, Jenny and their three children. Jimmy worked tirelessly alongside the team and Jenny worked with the Habitat Dominican staff to ensure the team had plenty of water, snacks and a hot lunch. Working side by side with them was an honor. While they faced very difficult housing situations, their willingness to work hard and patiently to improve those situations was remarkable.

The level of poverty housing in these areas is at least 40% and in some places much higher. Habitat DR has now completed 300+ projects in these areas since 2010 with the goal being to serve 1000 families. Habitat supporters in Cabarrus County should feel very good about the work they have helped to facilitate in partnership with families in need in the DR  - as well as the work they have helped make possible for their neighbors locally.

Participants: Katie Page, Dave Zablotny, EB Lentz, Jim Bramlett (incoming board president and longtime board member), Jerry Rhyne (former board member), Betsy Burchfield Handler (current board member), Dr. Robert Foust (community volunteer), and Daniel Stafford (Weekday Warrior)