Educating Haitians in the DR

Chip

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I have heard conflicting information about to the legality of children of illegal Haitian immigrants attending public scholl here in the DR but the fact is I have never seen a Haitian child in any public school here.

That being said, does anybody know if there is any law preventing missionaries from schooling Haitian children? It seems to me that it only worsens the situation by not teaching these children anything as all they can hope for is to get unskilled labor. At least if they get an education when they return to their country they can be more productive citizens and have a better chance at a better life.

thanks
 

Ezequiel

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Jun 4, 2008
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I have heard conflicting information about to the legality of children of illegal Haitian immigrants attending public scholl here in the DR but the fact is I have never seen a Haitian child in any public school here.

That being said, does anybody know if there is any law preventing missionaries from schooling Haitian children? It seems to me that it only worsens the situation by not teaching these children anything as all they can hope for is to get unskilled labor. At least if they get an education when they return to their country they can be more productive citizens and have a better chance at a better life.

thanks
Usually the Haitian kids living in the DR don't have a birth certificate so that is one of the main reason they can't enroll in public school in the DR, it's even hard for a DR kid to enroll in public school without birth certificate, it can be done but it's every hard and the school will kick the kid out after certain year if it doesn't show a birth certificate.

I had seemed Haitians in public school, of course they do have birth certificate.
 

jruane44

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I guess you can't go to school without a birth certificate because then you wouldn't have been born.
 

jrf

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Haitian children are by law to be allowed to attend local school. Problem is that the particular school may not want them there.
No b/certificate - no problem - not supposed to be any way.

Schooling them? no one will ever stop you nor say anything.
Be prepared.
 

NotLurking

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Jul 21, 2003
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Dominican legislature does not explicitly prohibit illegal children to attend school but no real procedure, that I know of, is in place to address educating illegal kids in the public school system. The only measure I'm aware of, announced in 2001 by the secretary of education Milagros Ortiz Bosch, lifts the requirement of a birth certificate as part of the primary school registration process. However, the announcement was not followed up with any official regulation or procedure the schools needed to follow and was left to the discretion of the schools. In essence, nothing really changed. In the event that an illegal child was allowed to attend school s/he would hit a road block upon completion of 8th grade with the requirement of national tests (Pruebas Nacionales). No student is allowed to take the tests without proper ID (birth certificate).

Chip, to answer your question, I don't see any problems with educating anyone you or any missionaries chose to educate. There are no Dominican legislations or regulations that I'm aware of that prohibit or limit illegals Haitians or other nationality to engage in education or learning. If you think about it, it would be pathetic if any such legislation existed in this day and age.

NotLurking
 

Chip

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Chip, to answer your question, I don't see any problems with educating anyone you or any missionaries chose to educate. There are no Dominican legislations or regulations that I'm aware of that prohibit or limit illegals Haitians or other nationality to engage in education or learning. NotLurking
Thanks. That being said where is the interest from missionary groups in bettering the lives of these people? I'm interested in hearing what missionaries from other countries have to say that frequent the DR.

I'm also intersted in hearing from anyone intersted in coordinating a non denominational solution to this problem in the Cibao region.

thanks
 

LaTeacher

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May 2, 2008
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the law was changed at the beginning of this school year in accordance with some children's rights sponsored by the UN. public schools are responsible now for accepting AND completing the paperwork for ANY undocumented child who wishes to study.

now, i'm not at all idealistic about this policy - in fact, i know personally of one school who REFUSED to accept some undocumented kids, but the school district got on it as soon as they found out.

i think the real problem with the haitians children is that their parents are uneducated as to the processes necessary to get their kids into school. they're obviously not the best treated of foreigners here in the DR.

there are quite a number of schools run by missionaries who literally pull kids out of trash dumps every morning, finding them, however is a little difficult as they tend to run under the radar. HOWEVER, there is a fairly large and successful program in La Vega called TEARS. they take kids without documentation and educate them to the 4th grade. once the kids are in the system and have a record of schooling (grades, letter of conduct, etc...) it's considered AS GOOD AS a birth certificate, though i'm sure that most schools that function like this do what they can to get these kids documented legally as well. TEARS webpage is tears.org
 

Dolores1

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May 3, 2000
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I have heard conflicting information about to the legality of children of illegal Haitian immigrants attending public scholl here in the DR but the fact is I have never seen a Haitian child in any public school here. "

You can see lots of one would suppose illegal Haitian immigrants attending public school if you travel in one of the areas where lots of Haitians live. For instance, make your way around noon or early in the morning along the Canaveral route to Punta Cana (by passing Higuey and La Otra Banda). That is a batey area and you will see lots of Haitian children making their way to or from school. I recently gave a lift to a car load full of them -- and most of them had rudimentary Spanish skills, so they were relatively new arrivals, most probably illegals. They were decked in their blue and khaki uniforms. One youngster, who clearly identified himself as Haitian, but spoke perfect Spanish, said he had an advantage over his Dominican classmates -- I can speak Spanish and French and am learning English, he said, aware that his job-seeking would come easier, especially in the tourism industry.

The snag with education is that most of the illegal Haitians are offspring of parents that have no official identity papers -- they legally don't exist, so that presents a problem for their children. The practice for years here has been to admit them to grade school. I would believe the parents need to regularize their status for them to graduate from high school.

It is a myth, that illegal Haitian children are not admitted to grade school.
 

NALs

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Jan 20, 2003
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I have heard conflicting information about to the legality of children of illegal Haitian immigrants attending public scholl here in the DR but the fact is I have never seen a Haitian child in any public school here. "

You can see lots of one would suppose illegal Haitian immigrants attending public school if you travel in one of the areas where lots of Haitians live. For instance, make your way around noon or early in the morning along the Canaveral route to Punta Cana (by passing Higuey and La Otra Banda). That is a batey area and you will see lots of Haitian children making their way to or from school. I recently gave a lift to a car load full of them -- and most of them had rudimentary Spanish skills, so they were relatively new arrivals, most probably illegals. They were decked in their blue and khaki uniforms. One youngster, who clearly identified himself as Haitian, but spoke perfect Spanish, said he had an advantage over his Dominican classmates -- I can speak Spanish and French and am learning English, he said, aware that his job-seeking would come easier, especially in the tourism industry.

The snag with education is that most of the illegal Haitians are offspring of parents that have no official identity papers -- they legally don't exist, so that presents a problem for their children. The practice for years here has been to admit them to grade school. I would believe the parents need to regularize their status for them to graduate from high school.

It is a myth, that illegal Haitian children are not admitted to grade school.
Makes sense.

-NALs
 

believer

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Oct 12, 2005
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Haitian School in Bella Vista

Hi everyone....great thread teaching me what I was most worried about.
We have a school in Bella Vista with 32 kids mostly Haitian but a couple Dominican kids that want to learn French. We are 1 person from the UK and the rest from Canada working our butts off to form this school. School was originally started by an Adventist Minister one year ago, who just got fired last week and the church is pulling the funding because it wants the mission money going to praying rather than educating....so we are saying to heck with them. We have students, lots of them! This week we are putting the deposit on what is basically a 2 bedroom apartment that will serve as a school. In the long term we are looking at buying the building for accom for teachers and admin offices....... the last one was 15X30 with a leaky roof and no power and no sink ......and moldy! The kids have no tables to write on so they do thier work on thier laps!

We couldn't even leave all the supplies there that have been so generously donated. The kids are incredibly keen and intelligent and are learning 3 languages. We have a three year old that is so very very smart. We are looking for a Doctor to donate a day to come down and give them all a check up, a dentist to teach them how to brush thier teeth and an eye doc to give them eye exams. We need some paint this week if any one has some as the new school is being prepped to open March 1.

I am surprised at how many kids are in there! 32 kids from one Bario! We are
on the roster for donations from Jolly Roger's bingo and are planning a fundraiser at Ruby's soon (please attend these and help)....but we need furniture, book cases, tables especially.....we feed these kids daily and provide all supplies, we have 3 teachers who make not enough money and a group of only 3 volunteers at the moment. The school has been supported for the last year by the Adventist Church and one Canadian Patron

When we start the new school (March 1) we will actually be registering the kids properly and then we will find out why they are not in a regular dominican school. I think maybe fear of deportation is one reason.

Any donations of furnishings (even old tables needing repair will be accepted)
window coverings, paint, shelves, ziploc type containers to keep the supplies from dampness, would be wonderful, and of course CASH....if you can spare them......The annual rent is only $1200, the teachers $3600, the food about the same. We are partnering with NA schools hoping they will do fundraisers for us annually and hoping to get patrons that will cover specific costs, IE A rent patron, a teacher patron, a medical patron....etc.....

If you have any suggestions........or more info on the legality of our venture please do let me know...you can post or PM.

Thanks