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Least of These Project – Dominican Republic

By Doris Olafsen

In 2009 Opportunity International Canada (OIC) together with Opportunity’s on-the-ground partner in the Dominican Republic known as ASPIRE conducted a study of educational needs for the poor entrepreneurs and their families in the rural and urban areas. As a result of the study, Education Finance loans have been made available for over 1100 low-cost private schools and is currently serving over 300 principals and proprietors allowing them to hire better teachers, build better facilities and bring financial literacy to entire communities.

A missing element identified in recent months was the need to provide access and inclusion solutions for children and youth with disabilities, with a larger view to always consider and include the parents and caregivers. This has become lovingly referred to as the “The Least of These Pilot Project (LOT).”

This Pilot Project that OIC and ASPIRE are offering is addressing some immediate needs with a view that this will be scalable. The current three-year project which has now been completely subscribed includes: Tuition Scholarships: Retention of current students & recruitment of new students; Awareness & Education Program for educators, parents & community at large; Pilot School development.

This video captures some of the children and families that are immediately benefiting from the project. Captured on a recent Insight Trip, it speaks to the heart and intention of those that have caught the vision and are engaged.

A short documentary covering the scope details of this project has been commissioned and over this next year the LOT project will be shared with audiences across Canada. Our vision is that no child or family will be left behind. We are just getting started.

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