The Roots of Poverty in the Dominican Republic: Education and Health Care
It sends shivers down the spines of many to learn that most of the human race live on just a few dollars a day. Governments of developing countries can’t afford to give their people the necessary resources to survive and the hope to escape poverty. The poorest people in these countries will have the least amount of access to resources like education and health care. The issues that arise with disease, malnutrition and hunger have the biggest impact on the poor sectors of society. Directly affecting awareness and prevention of health problems are illiteracy and lack of education, which are very prevalent in the poorest of countries. Without an education, or at least a basic understanding of a country’s operations, the poorest uneducated people are often disenfranchised and have little say in their government’s actions. Another drawback of uneducated citizen base is the high rates of unemployment. When people are unable to work, they cannot make money and are not able to break free from the poverty cycle.
This is where microfinance in a developing country like the Dominican Republic can have such a large impact. According to the CIA World Fact Book, the unemployment rate in the Dominican Republic was 13.3% in 2010. This is the 138th worst unemployment rate in the world.
Microfinance is a system that will allow impoverished people to break the cycle of poverty and become self-employed by taking out loans to be used towards their business of choice. Through Esperanza International, there is a true hope to the loan recipients in the Dominican Republic to survive and eventually escape poverty. As many of the recipients have never gone to formal school when they were young, literacy courses are offered by Esperanza International to enhance recipients’ knowledge and understanding, as well as their fostering their children’s’ dreams by providing their kids with academic opportunities as well.
These literacy courses are able to teach quintessential life skills to students, as well as the typical reading, writing and arithmetic lessons found in many developed countries’ school. The students of these workshops are taught how to strive for a healthy lifestyle, helping with the issue of a lack of good healthcare for the poor. Hopefully, in time, Esperanza International will provide the resources and care for loan recipients and their families’
to start to escape the allegedly unbreakable cycle of poverty.
Our Past, Present, and Future
We thought that it would be a good idea to give you a better idea as to who we are what the purpose of our creating this blog is. Our first blog post gave you a little bit of background, but maybe you’re wondering a bit more as to why four college students are so involved in raising awareness for Esperanza and microfinance in general.
We are four female students attending the University of Richmond in Virginia. We are all members of a special Living and Learning Community under the umbrella of Social Entrepreneurship. Our course, taught by a management professor and social psychology professor, provides us with different perspectives and a large amount of literature which, most of us, have never been exposed to.
The “Living” portion of our community is very special. We all live on the same floor, share the same laundry room, and see each other on a daily basis. Even though we have only been at school a month, it is clear that bonds have been formed within members of the community, which is very special indeed.
In October, we will be traveling the Dominican Republic to learn more about Esperanza firsthand. We will be spending five days and four nights in the DR, traveling to different offices, sitting in on bank meetings and having the opportunity to speak the executives of Esperanza International. I believe that it is safe to say that everyone in the program is excited about this trip.
In the spring, we will collaboratively host a fundraising gala in Richmond, Virginia to raise funds for the nonprofit. I believe that this will be the most rewarding part of our program – actually being able to help the organization that we have learned so much about. We hope that you, our readers, will still be interested in what we have to say by the spring so that you can learn more about how to donate or attend the gala if you are in the area!
We hope that you enjoy reading our blog as much as we enjoy writing it!
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Category: Payday loans