The island of Hispaniola is the home of both the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Both countries have shared the struggles of poverty, military dictatorships, and hurricanes. They also share beautiful beaches, bring much tourism. The capital city of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, has suffered a dramatic increase in population over the last decades and this rise has continued during the last ten years. Families and children who previously farmed sugar cane moved to the city after the demand for sugar cane dropped in Latin America. Tourism began to become an important factor in the economy in the mid-1980s. Desperation has driven many children to prostitution in this popular destination for tourism.
Caminante, meaning “One Who Walks the Path," is a grass roots organization made up of people who have firsthand knowledge of the struggles that face the kids and teens in their community. Caminante is located in Boca Chica, a beach-resort town, located close to the airport and the capital city of Santo Domingo. Caminante provides a safe space where hundreds of youth and their families receive counseling and participate in recreational, preventive health and educational/training programs. Additionally, in coordination with local government and non-governmental agencies, victims of sexual abuse and exploitation are receiving special attention and services through Caminante. Many of the staff of Caminante are former participants in the program who lived on the streets or had little support from a family.
One of the new programs for the youth of Caminante is the Soccer Project. The hope is to field two teams (12 per team) of children and adolescents. The youth want to start a project of soccer because that sport includes teaching a healthy lifestyle and reinforcing an important hobby for children and adolescents. Eventually, they hope to form enough teams to practice and have tournaments. In order to get started, the following list of soccer equipment and uniforms needs to be purchased for two teams:
- $30.00 will be one pair of Soccer Cleats (24 pairs needed)
- $7.00 will buy a Uniforms / Jersey (36 are needed)
- $25.00 will buy a Soccer Ball (6 are needed)
- Someone to Coach the Teams
- $50.00 will buy a Soccer Net (2 are needed)
Total Project Cost: $1,220.00