Our school serves the children of batey laborers, many of whom are immigrants from Haiti. Children of undocumented Haitian immigrants are not given a birth certificate and so, by law, are barred from public schools. Santa María del Batey does not require a birth certificate for student enrollment, nor does it discriminate on the basis of nationality, ethnicity, place of birth, or socioeconomic level. For many children, the school of Santa María del Batey is their only chance to receive an education.
The Santa María del Batey Foundation believes that all children in the Dominican Republic should have equal access to education and equal opportunity to achieve their potential.
Our mission is to break the vicious cycle of batey poverty, in which children are kept at home to labor on the plantations, depriving them of their education and a future away from the bateys. The Santa María del Batey Foundation believes that providing accessible education breaks this vicious cycle and frees the younger generation to achieve their potential and find employment. This is turn creates new jobs and expands the economy of the region. The school also provides technical and vocational training to high school students, who can choose to take courses in hotel management, tailoring, and IT (information technology). With these skills, our graduates are competitive candidates for jobs in the flourishing tourism, manufacturing, or technology industries.
Our verdant campus is nestled among the plantations where the students live and where many of their parents work. Our teachers teach full time, from 8:00am–4:00pm on weekdays. The school provides the students with breakfast and lunch. On Saturdays the school offers crafts, sports, and religious education classes.
Parents are responsible for paying RD$25 pesos (about US$0.75) per month for each child’s tuition. Parents who cannot or do not wish to pay in pesos may elect to pay “sweat-tuition” by doing some maintenance work on the school grounds.
We strive to give our students the finest education, on par with the best schools in the Dominican Republic. Our school has gained renown in the area; some students even come from 7 or 8 kilometers away, on foot or hitching a ride on the back of a motorcycle, to attend the school.
Santa María del Batey in the news
The school was recently featured in a Dominican weekly paper:
Hato Mayor, Dominican Republic
©2008 Fundación Santa María del Batey