This letter from Danelle illustrates how your financial support for these precious children goes a long way to changing people’s lives for the better in the Dominican Republic! Thanks to everyone who gives!
By Danelle Putnam
The children’s lives have changed tremendously in the past 6 months. The children live as a Christian family, with Christian caregivers, in a community and with the love and support of their church family. The children have contact with their neighbors, they go out into the community, they go to the city to go grocery shopping and to run errands with their “aunts and uncles,” and they play baseball and basketball at the community field and court. The children have friends that come over to play with them!
The children were baptized on Easter Sunday. The whole church – all the members – are their Godparents as your church is ultimately responsible for the physical and spiritual well0being of the children. The children have devotions and go to church and Sunday School every week.
The children are happy, growing, learning and adjusting very well to their new life. At our last board meeting in May, one of the board members asked the director, Dr. Marisol Martinez, what she felt was the key in the children’s adjustment and all the positive changes we have seen in them. Marisol said that it was all the love and individualized attention we are giving them. The love they are receiving is filling the void and emptiness in their lives.
We do not know any of the children’s ages and we only know some background. We do not yet have the files on the children. All of the children are orphans.
The group home is a big step in the Dominican Republic toward improving the future of people with developmental disabilities. There are no public services for people with developmental disabilities int eh Dominican Republic other than an institutional orphanage for children and an institution for adults. There is no in-home services, no training for families, no special education, etc. For the most part, children with developmental disabilities live with their parents and siblings their whole life. This is culturally acceptable. however, there are cases of abandonment or abuse where the children have to be taken out of their home for the child’s safety. Hogares Luteranos el Buen Pastor (HLBP), in forming a group home, wants to put forth a model of care in a family setting as an alternative to institutional care. We also want to show the importance of INCLUSION, as there are some other homes in the country for people with developmental disabilities, but they are still institutional homes – the children are not included in the community, or society, they do not go to school with the other children and are not part of a church family.
Since we received orphans from the government institution, the government will evaluate the children and the care given to the children. We pray that over time, changes will be made in how people with developmental disabilities are viewed, cared for, and included on a societal level.
Already the community of Palmar Arriba has been transformed by the arrival of the children. The community members gave hundreds of hours to remodel the group home, people come by and leave donations of food they have harvested, used clothes and offer to help in many ways. It is a community that has welcomed them in as part of their family.
There are more children, youth and adults with developmental disabilities that are currently in institutions that could easily be included into a group home. It is our desire and goal to open more group homes, but first we are working to make the first home financially sustainable. We are starting a sponsorship program so that individuals/schools/congregations can sponsor one of the children in ght group home to help care for their needs. We are soliciting donations from local companies, we are starting gardens to grow food, and we are starting an internet cafe (proceeds will go to the group home and school).
Since we receive no government funding or assistance, we have to raise 100% of the funds needed to run the organization and group home.
If you would like to help, please go to http://givenowlcms.org
TO BE CONTINUED – THE FUTURE OF THE HLBP