Projects With Purpose
The vocational school was established to help the under-educated, poor people of the North Coast learn skills that would lead to viable employment, allowing them to provide for their families and avoiding an otherwise inevitable life spent in compromising situations.
Classes offered at the school include sewing (dressmaking, curtains, bag-making etc.), beauty school (hair, manicure, pedicures facials, etc.), furniture making and upholstery, electrical engineering, small engine repair, woodworking, and English. The literacy classes that were run by the government in our school have moved to the public school at the bottom of the village. We celebrate this as the program had grown so much they needed many more classrooms.
Over the past 5 years, well over 2,000 students have graduated and are now able to provide food, clothing, medicine, and an education for their families. We invite you to come alongside this great work and see the vocational programs in action.
In 1988, while on vacation in the Dominican Republic, the Madonias went for a walk in the village of Charamicos. Here they found themselves face to face with the squalor of extreme poverty. The people literally lived in mud hovels, without even one of the basic necessities. Mr. Madonia found himself asking God, “why?” and then felt the Lord asking him “what will you do?”
In response, Elio Madonia built the first village, Maranatha, in the Municipality of Sosua Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. Elio bought a small pig farm and a slaughterhouse, which is where it all began. This small property was converted into a vibrant community starting with only 25 houses. By the time the village was inaugurated in January 1990, it had a large church, a school and a medical clinic, with a basketball court and a bookstore added shortly after. The original small village has morphed into a town with over 800 homes and businesses, providing work and a place people proudly call home.
Shortly after Villa Maranatha was complete, a plot of land only a mile away was purchased and forty-two more homes and a church were built. The children attended school only minutes away in Villa Maranatha.
A mile away from Betania, stand forty-four homes, complete with electricity and clean, running water. Here another 50 poor families have been assisted and provided with a brand new house. Our friends at Mercy Ships sponsored and built a new Church building, housing a local church body that has become a beacon in the village and the nearby community. The children have access to quality education, attending “Nest of Love” school in Villa Emmanuel while others attend school in Villa Maranatha.
In 1997 a fire ripped through a small nearby settlement, igniting the shanties like dry kindling, leaving seventy largely Haitian families homeless and destitute. The Samaritan Foundation stepped in to help with the immediate needs of these families and the fourth village, Villa Trinidad, was built. Though the initial homes were very humble, many of the recipients used these as a stepping-stone to improving the lives of their families. Some have added a second story to the basic footprint to make room for businesses on the main floor.
The people of this village have demonstrated a real sense of responsibility and initiative. They established the first Residence Council that is responsible for the management of the affairs of the village. It worked so well that it became a prototype for village governance and administra- tion structure, and is being incorporated in all of the other villages.
Villa Redencion has become home to families of both Dominican and Haitian descent who were living in unimaginable deprivation. At the inauguration in 2002 there were 163 homes completed, making it the largest undertaking we had initiated to date. It is the only village with two Churches: one Spanish speaking and one conducting services in Creole. New Mission operates the local school with close to 300 students. The playground and basketball court is well used, providing a place for the children to enjoy their youth.
Boasting large, green fields, brightly painted walls, and a large central green area where banana plants and other fruits and vegetables surround the gazebo that sits in the center of town, Villa Ascension is a vibrant and tranquil community. Located half way between Sosua and Puerto Plata, in the municipality of Montellano, the village was built in an area called Caraballo, where hundreds of families lived in shacks in deplorable conditions. 263 families from amongst the poorest in the Province of Puerto Plata have received a new home to date.
In one building some of the women are busy making crafts for sale at the market while others are intent on the mothering and nutrition course they are taking. Just a few steps down the road at the business centre, local vendors, trades- men, and craftsmen sell their wares or talents. It began as a microfinance enterprise, but the entrepreneurs now work independently, offering services such as small engine repair, bicycle repair, and original artwork, to name a few. An audio-visual library and a computer training facility offer further educational opportunities for adults. The Samaritan Foundation built a woodworking shop here, not only to train local people with a trade, but also to manufacture the growing numbers of windows, doors and other building components that were needed for their projects.
Water is pumped two miles from the Puerto Plata Aqueducts into two 20,000-gallon reservoirs and distributed to the villagers. The village has a first rate school that is sponsored and operated by Kids Alive. They provide education to hundreds of children in the surrounding area. This community has a local Church that is located close to the local shops (started as microenterprise), a souvenir and craft centre. The service centre has a doctor’s office, a pharmacy, and a dental clinic on the way. This centre also provides accommodations for visiting volunteers. The children enjoy the basketball court and play soccer most days after school.
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Our seventh village, Villa Nazareth, is situated not far from Betania, Trinidad, and Redencion in the Municipality of Sosua. This beautiful location holds 100 houses that were built on different levels around a hill. At the very top, there is a school, a water reservoir, a church, and a medical clinic that all continue to drastically change many lives for the better.
Villa Esperanza, also known as Los Algodones, is located half way between Montellano and Puerto Plata. What began as a community of people living in sub-human conditions with no access to clean water and quality education has resulted in a quality of life that has been transformed from one of a hopeless and forgotten existence to one of opportunity and anticipation.
Before anyone got involved, raw sewage ran openly in the narrow pathways between the crowded rows of houses, live electrical wires flapped loosely in the breeze, and there was no source of potable water except for the water truck that came by regularly. Since they had little or no money, water was a luxury they could ill afford. There was a murky pool of water at the bottom of a hillside nearby that the waste washed into from the village and from the nearby farmer’s cattle. This is where many of the villagers did their laundry, bathed, and many drank from Child mortality rates were high; illness was rampant.
Though prejudice against this largely Haitian population put up many barriers, we watched the generosity of many key players miraculously open doors for these oppressed people affording them access to clean, running water and 260 new houses to call home.
Villa Spruceland Paraiso
Villa Spruceland Paraiso
The houses in Spruceland Paradise are sponsored by the employees of Spruceland Millworks in Edmonton, Alberta. The first 25 houses were given to needy families in the fall of 2008. This was a tremendously emotional event for everyone involved.
What makes Spruceland Paradise uniquely different is that it can be considered a “full service” community. This village provides for its 206 families an excellent school, full medical clinic, church and Sunday school, large and fertile family garden plots available for each household to help sustain themselves and also a first ever complete vocational school. The vocational school provides for not only the villagers themselves and surrounding communities an opportunity to advance their own education but also the prospect to learn a trade and skill. A trade and skill that will not only provide for them an escape route from poverty but also a new level of self-esteem and self-worth. Young and old deserve these possibilities and we are thankful that this village can and does provide the poor a second chance at life!
Villa Upper and Lower Zion
Villa Upper and Lower Zion
Upper and Lower Zion look very much like a little east coast village in the countries of Canada and the northeastern part of the United States. Its houses of many colours add the warmth and friendliness that richly reflects the 60 families that make up these 2 communities within one village. Villa Zion is located across from Villa Nazareth and many of Zion’s children attend the schools in Villa Nazareth and Villa Emmanuel.
Villa Samaritano 1 & 2
Villa Samaritano 1 & 2
Named after The Samaritan Foundation itself, Villa Samaritano is neatly situated on a hill between Villa Paraiso 2 and Villa Emmanuel. Though construction of houses started in January of 2014, the access to the village, which needed a bridge and a street off the main road, commenced in 2013. When completed, more than 300 families will have a new modest home that they will be calling their very own.
What makes Villa Samaritano unique from the other villages is that it is the first village that features some of the newest developments in house construction and design. Each of these homes will be smooth coated (parged) inside and out, total indoor plumbing with showers, and each house will have complete in-wall electrical receptacles and switches. Life is good!
The agricultural gardens of the Paraiso villages have been one of the largest, most visual and abundant blessings to the many families of the Spruceland Paraiso and Paraiso #2 communities. Over 185 families have taken advantage of these freely given garden plots to help offset the shortages of food that many of them face daily with more plots being developed. Here agricultural specialists work alongside the garden recipients to help teach, instruct and encourage the villagers in the cultivating and management of their respective properties.
But it goes beyond the agricultural means to also include Poultry, Honey Bees and Tilapia (the growing and harvesting of fish). Here workers are looking to expand the ability of the local villagers to include these other possibilities to provide some additional much-needed income. By expanding their horizons and capabilities, this brings the adage of “teaching them how to fish” to a whole new level.