Ministry Highlight: Dominican Republic

We began our ministry in the Dominican Republic in 1970 as a relief program donating food, medicine and money for children selected by the local churches.

crayon drawing of Dominican flag posted on a wood wall

This relief program transitioned into a school program in the 1980s. In this program, children in the Dominican Republic gained access to education through the local church. In 1994, we started our Child Sponsorship Program. The Leadership Development Program started in 2004, followed by the Child Survival Program in 2006.

In the Dominican Republic we have a strategic partnership with the Evangelical National University to offer higher education to our staff, Implementing Church Partner staff and church members in holistic child development and child advocacy in order to train leaders to be child advocates.

Country Director

smiling man in white shirt with boy hugging his neck

Kleber Isaias Lora Bautista joined us as Country Director in 2005.

Prior to coming to our ministry he held various positions including Child Sponsorship Program Manager at Food for the Hungry and a consultant for the Institutional Strength Project.

Kleber graduated with a degree in computer engineering from INTEC Technological Institute of Santo Domingo in 1990. He also earned a masters of business administration from the University of Quebec, Montreal in 2004.

As a young person, Kleber was the founder of the Christian Church in his community and later became the youth pastor and a staff member of their Bible seminary.

Implementing Church Partners

Implementing Church Partners are local churches in the Dominican Republic with whom we work to deliver child development programs and frontline ministry in the field.

  • Spiritual Climate
    The Dominican Republic is very open to the gospel and the church has a strong voice in the community. Youth delinquency is a major challenge in many communities; because of that the church is widely accepted and welcomed in the hope that the church will encourage and embrace the youth.

    As a result, the church in the Dominican Republic is experiencing numerical growth.

  • group of adults worshipping in church
  • Unique Challenges
    It can be challenging for churches to find and train professional staff as the quality of education in the Dominican Republic is quite low. Once they are trained, the market often offers better salaries and benefits than Implementing Church Partners can offer. Also, most churches must rent their space because land is expensive and neighborhoods are very crowded.
  • Contributions
    Implementing Church Partners provide construction and labor for the facilities as well as volunteers who offer their time and service in their specific field of expertise, such as medicine or social work.
  • Partner Development Activities
    We develop partners in the Dominican Republic through training in accountability and sponsorship processes as well as leadership meetings with pastors and project directors.

Child Survival Program

  • Caregiver Literacy
    Literacy is taught at the caregiver meetings once a week using an adult literacy method by ALFALIT. ALFALIT is an international Christian non-profit organization that specializes in eliminating literacy and offering education and development opportunities with the purpose of strengthening families in need.
  • Income-generating Skills
    We offer a workshop once a week on various topics such as baking, jewelry making, hair dressing and beautician’s skills, and making pajamas and undergarments.

    These are skills that the caregivers can use in their homes while also taking care of their children.

  • women and girls working in hair salon
  • Health Care
    For vaccinations, medical consultations and follow-ups, mothers and babies go to public or private health centers that are located in their communities or nearby. We reimburse the Implementing Church Partners at various rates depending on whether the beneficiaries received care at a public hospital, semiprivate center or a private center.
  • Nutritional Support
    Each month we assess which families are in need of nutritional support, then we deliver food and micronutrients for those families. Usually we do not deliver to the same families month after month, but occasionally that is needed for families living in very difficult conditions.

    We also provide an orientation on nutrition and subsequent follow-ups.

  • Involvement of Fathers
    We encourage fathers to participate in group meetings and home visits. At the group meetings, we will often have a counseling professional come and talk to the couples about parenting and family dynamics.

    Implementing Church Partners also organize yearly retreats for Child Survival Program mothers and their husbands where they go away for three days and enjoy being together, meet new people and hear speakers teach on various topics.

  • man bottle feeding a baby
  • Transitioning Out of the Child Survival Program
    When children reach the age of 2, the Child Survival Program Implementers organize group activities where the children sit together around tables, draw and paint and have a nutritional meal together to help them get acquainted with the Child Sponsorship Program classroom and activities.
  • Areas of Expansion for the Child Survival Program
    We would like to expand into the southern region of the Dominican Republic because that is the poorest area of the country.

Child Development Through Sponsorship

Your sponsorship of a child in the Dominican Republic provides a variety of benefits.

Based on our curriculum, this has been the most appropriate schedule for the children.

  • Meeting Times:
    • 3 to 5 year olds: 8 hours a week spread out over 2 to 3 days
    • 6 to 8 year olds: 3 hours a day, 2 days a week
    • 9 to 11 year olds: 3 hours a day, 2 days a week
    • 12 to 14 year olds: 3 hours a day, 2 days a week
    • 15 to 18 year olds: 2 hours a day, 2 days a week
    • 19 +: 2 hours a day, 2 days a week
    girls studying in a classroom
  • Nutritional Support
    Each child receives a meal every day that they attend the child development center, which is about three times a week. A typical meal consists of rice and milk, wheat flour and milk, rice and chicken, oatmeal with bread, fruit juice and cookies, or cornflakes and milk.

    We give a meal or snack each time they attend the center because although the government schools do sometimes offer food, it is not consistent nor is it always safe and clean.

  • children praying before a meal
  • Vaccinations
    Development center staff advises all parents to vaccinate their children. A health professional does an annual checkup and checks that these vaccines have been completed.

    In some cases, Implementing Church Partners have agreements with other non-governmental organizations or governmental agencies that provide vaccinations when needed.

  • boys playing basketball
  • Extracurricular Activities or Community Service
    Children are able to participate regularly in sports, camps, arts, field days, museum visits, book fairs and field trips to historic sites, various companies and recreational places.
  • Vocational Activities
    Vocational training in skills such as computers, handicrafts, driving, beauty, English, cooking, baking, welding, carpentry and sewing are offered depending on the local community. Many of the vocational training courses are certified, allowing the students to grow professionally in a given technical professional field.

    We also offer spiritual guidance and support, counseling, and opportunities for long-term development such as “My Plan for the Future” which is completed by each student.

  • girls in a computer lab
  • Parent Involvement
    We offer quarterly parenting classes on topics such as healthy parenting, family violence prevention, nutrition, literacy, vocational training and health.
  • Areas of Expansion for the Child Sponsorship Program
    We would like to expand into the south and northeast regions of the Dominican Republic. The south is the most impoverished area in the country, and the northeast is a region where we do not currently have any church partners.

Leadership Development Program

  • Universities Attended
    Leadership Development Program students attend governmental, private or Christian universities.
  • Location of Universities
    Most of the universities are located in the capital city or in other large cities. There are several regional campuses spread throughout the country that offer a limited choice of degrees.
  • Working Students
    There are a few Leadership Development Program students who do work, but generally these students are about to graduate.
  • Service Opportunities
    Many students go back to their child development centers and churches to serve, while others serve at orphanages, nursing homes and schools or by doing community evangelism and missions.
  • Leadership Development Program Meetings
    Leadership Development Program students hold an annual Advocacy Conference and an annual Youth Forum. The Advocacy Conference is a large meeting in which the students invite child development centers from various regions to bring their children and adolescents so the Leadership Development Program students can speak to them on specific topics related to child development.

    The Youth Forum is a forum where students invite leaders and professionals in various fields of social service to speak to them and other youth. They also meet quarterly in their Leadership Development Program care groups, which are smaller groups divided up by region; this is when they usually meet with the program specialist.

  • group of children listening to an instructor in a classroom
  • Specialty Curriculum Topics or Resources
    When students enter the Leadership Development Program, they are required to complete the “Leadership Development Program Academy.” This is a one-month training program with specialized teachers in subjects such as math, writing, speed reading, and Christian worldview.
  • Mentors
    Some of our staff members in the Dominican Republic are mentors for the students. They also assist other students in finding mentors through their connections with leaders from their churches.
  • Career Placement Assistance
    We offer workshops to help the Leadership Development Program students choose their careers based on their interests and the labor market demands. We also give a vocational test administered by a psychologist to every student.
two men in suits congratulating graduates

Complementary Interventions

Compassion’s core Child Sponsorship Program, while comprehensive, cannot address all obstacles to a child’s healthy development. Compassion’s Complementary Interventions program works in harmony with the holistic child development model to provide additional services as needed, such as the AIDS Initiative, Bibles for All Children, disaster relief and water projects.

Typical Complementary Interventions in the Dominican Republic include vocational training, reliable water using water purification systems, dental care, promotion of sports practices and major medical interventions

line of people outside of a water purification facility waiting to fill water jugs

Highly Vulnerable Children

The primary needs in our Highly Vulnerable Children population are nutrition, hygiene and reliable water. It has been shown that focusing on prevention is the most efficient way to address the needs of Highly Vulnerable Children.

As a result, we concentrate our efforts within the Child Survival Program to improve and promote care and hygiene in newborns, infants and mothers. Child Survival and Child Sponsorship Program beneficiaries are eligible for medical support through Complementary Interventions.

In some cases of severe malnutrition, help and food is provided regularly. Funds are also used for adult literacy and nutrition/health education. In the event of a disaster, food, water and other resources are available for Highly Vulnerable Children.

13 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Moacir BAIA lacerda October 20, 2020

    Kleber Isaías is a great man of God. Part of a beautiful family engaged in the service of God’s Kingdom. May the Lord our God frutify more and more the work of his hands.

  2. Becky February 5, 2012

    I know someone who runs a forum based on wordpress. Recently, wordpress was hit with a virus and it took that person hours of searching through all of the source code to find and remove the virus. He said that the virus was targeted at wordpress specifically, which I surmise means that is why CI had problems and they had nothing to do with CI doing something wrong, just that CI uses wordpress.

    1. Jacquie Parella February 6, 2012

      Hi Becky! Is there any way you can find out from your friend where in the code was the virus in their WP forum? Which file?

  3. Michelle S. February 3, 2012

    I read your blog on all the progress in the Dominican Republic and I think you all are Amazing. I have been involved in a Mission team for the last two years out of Washington state. Last year I helped serve on the South coast and this year on the North. I fell in love with the people immediately! My team provides spiritual, medical, dental, and optical cares. I come back so blessed and renewed in God’s love and grace. Your program is so amazing, God bless all your work in the Dominican.

  4. Michael Patterson February 3, 2012

    In 2005 my family had received a letter from a child we had sponsored for 8 years. My wife and I felt the only response that seemed appropriate for that letter was to go visit that 14 year old girl, Yefredy. That trip truly changed my life. The Compassion staff in the Dominican Republic is amazing, and I learned that Compassion’s ministry reaches far beyond the sponsored child. At the time we felt as though it was a trip we could barely afford. Now we feel that we have family in the Dominican Republic and we can’t afford to stay away.

  5. Michelle February 3, 2012

    I hesitate to ‘follow’ or ‘share’ because of this. :/

  6. Michelle February 3, 2012

    I thought someone you might like to know that a virus tried to get in my computer the second I connected to this site. You might want to screw things down a bit.

    1. Jacquie Parella February 3, 2012

      Hi Michelle! We are working with Word Press on this to try to identify the problem and get it fixed. Do you have time to send us some information? If so, can you click on the ‘contact us’ button at the top right of the page and let us know..

      Do you use a PC or MAC?
      What is your operating system?
      What browser were you using?
      Did you have other windows open at the time?

      Any or all of this information would be incredibly helpful for our troubleshooting efforts.


      1. Michelle February 4, 2012

        I emailed the info to you. Did you get it?

        1. Jacquie Parella February 6, 2012

          How did you e-mail the info? Was it through the contact form?

      2. Al February 4, 2012

        The website does sometimes make a window pop up, but my tech-y friend says that it is a Javascript error (not a virus). I’m using the latest version of Firefox.

        1. Jacquie Parella February 4, 2012

          Al – Others have mentioned to us they thought the pop-up was a Javascript error and it was really a virus. So please don’t click on any pop-ups unless you know 100% for sure what the pop-up is.

      3. Ken M. February 4, 2012

        I have been having the same issues, too. I may have infected a laptop at work because of the issues. When I went to this site a virus tried to infect my computer (at home) twice and another computer at work. All of the computers are PC.

        One thing I’ve found is that when I use the direct link from to get to this site a virus doesn’t try to attack my computer. When I google compassion blog or come to this site from my list a favorite websites, a virus will try to attack my computer or any computer I’m using at the time.

        At work I use firefox. At home I use internet explorer and google chrome. The problem occurs whether or not another window is open.

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