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El Cercado, San Juan, Dominican Republic SocialMinistryElCercado@gmail.com 1-809-558-0215 (esp) | 1-829-762-2762 (eng)

About Us

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El Cercado, with approximately 28,000 people, is located in the southwest of the Dominican Republic, 20 miles from Haiti. The people are mainly subsistence farmers who grow beans, corn, onions, and avocado. Most of these families struggle to earn a living, though many own their land. The soil is poor, due to slash and burn techniques that have caused soil erosion and deforestation. Climate change, extreme weather and flooding have added to poor yield and have damaged roads, homes, water systems, and greenhouses. Many families live in poor conditions, without access to paved roads, running water or public septic systems. Nearly 33% of adults are illiterate, and poor economic opportunities push adults into low wage labor markets.
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E l Cercado, Dominican Republic shares the island Hispanola with Haiti and is 45 minutes from the Haitian boarder.

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Since 1979, Rockville Center Diocese, Long Island, has supported St Peter’s parish, El Cercado. With Rockville Center’s assistance, St Peter’s organizes and empowers a network of faith based communities. These communities build infrastructures, better housing, improve access to quality food and health services. Through these efforts our goal is to enhance education, protect natural resources, illuminate their self dignity, advocate for social justice, and promote equality and basic rights. A Social Ministry Committee, with 45 representatives from the 84 Christian based communities operating in the urban and rural villages of El Cercado, meets monthly to plan projects in the areas of health, education, agriculture, and economic development.

Our Work

The Social Ministry Committee has implemented several outreach projects in the area of:

Health

  • The construction of 16 community water systems with chlorination filters.
  • Society of St Vincent de Paul with monthly deliveries of food bags to 120 elderly and disabled persons
  • A town pharmacy and 18 rural outlets for low cost medicine
  • The building of 1,865 outdoor latrines
  • An integrated preventive health care program with 65 volunteer health promoters
  • Medical clinics for surgery, eye exams, ultrasounds, and dentistry
  • Senior Day Care Center serving 55 adults with food, medicines, consultations and recreation
Education
  • Retreat & Formation Center with lodging facilities available for 60 people
  • 35 Legal human rights workers accompanying the poor through the judicial process system
  • Child and Youth protection committee to prevent  domestic violence  
  • The construction of 11 rural schools
  • 27 after school tutoring programs
  • 190 adult literacy  groups
  • Construction and administration of:
  • St. Francis Xavier Grammar School Fe y Alegria
  • St. Francis of Assisi High School Fe y Alegria
Agriculture
  • A Federation of 18 Associations and 500 farm families developing sustainable agriculture which includes:
  • 12 vegetable greenhouses
  • 19 open field vegetable gardens
  • 18 fruit tree nurseries
  • 4 germinating  seedling structures
  • 2 organic seed banks
  • 8 organic worm farms
  • Animal husbandry and bee hives,
  • Use of soil conservation methods
  • Reforestation of degraded mountainsides
  • Road repair projects

Economic Development

  • A Women’s Micro Enterprise cooperative factory with 20 members producing marmalade, casaba tortillas, peanut butter, a protein supplement  – Nutrifort for malnourished children and seniors, candies and natural medicines
  • Small Business Program for Women generating over 150 loans with financial counseling
  • Commercial Distribution Center for  marketing organic produce
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Celebrating our lives and our culture.