Café con Leche School Project History
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The project seeks to start and develop a primary education program initially for children under 14 years of age. It is located in the “El Café” neighbourhood directly within the students’ own community and works with them to solve some of their most urgent needs. This serves as an ideal vehicle for the academic, human, and moral formation of children and adults that come in contact with this project.
- The “El Café” neighbourhood is a small area characterized by great poverty and high population density on very uneven terrain that is difficult to enter and leave.
- High illiteracy passed on from parents to children.
- Most children live in homes with absentee fathers. As a result, many women are forced to work outside of their homes, which in turn practically means leaving their children unattended (in the best of cases, the older children take care of the younger ones.)
- Very high rate of unemployment and underemployment.
- There are no public schools in the area.
- There limited medical care in the community and no places to play sports.
- A very low level of moral formation and family values brings about family abandonment, infidelity, and promiscuity.
The Foco Foundation, is a non-governmental, non-profit organization legally constituted in June 2000 by the Dominican government to operate within the Dominican Republic. The organization was specifically created to sustain this project. At first, around the year 1990 a young women, named Marisol, volunteered to teach to read and write to a group of children in a very poor area of Santo Domingo named El Café. Other teachers joined her, and soon they got a small old warehouse to house the new “school”. Café con Leche was born and still is the only school in this area and what started with 25 children has become a school with 520 children. In time, the government agreed to pay 4 teachers and provides breakfast at the school for these children.
Today, the school operates in a school building constructed by the Foco Foundation. The official inauguration of the project (cutting of a ribbon) took place September 11 2001, the same day the towers collapsed, as a sing of hope. The first level of the new school building, was inaugurated September 11 2003, and Foco Foundation continued to work to provide for the school every service to make a good public school, model in the country. Today we have: sport facility and plyaground, cafeteria with kitchen, 7 classrooms and 4 bathrooms and a computer lab.