When Angelica was only three years old, her mother who was just 17, was murdered by her father. Her grandfather took care of her and she now lives in a family of six. The family has no regular income and live in extremely poor conditions in a small block house with no bathroom or toilet. Attendance at the Eva Russell School, love and encouragement, a good breakfast and a hot lunch are the lifeline Angelica desperately needs for a better future. With the support of her school Angelica has made tremendous progress and is now a friendly, lively girl who loves to sing and play with her dolls. She loves to read, is very respectful and behaves really well in school.
The Eva Russell School, Monte Plata was established by Ramon and Juana Prenza to provide an education for 50 children. Before Stand by Me adopted the school in 1996, it was housed in a chicken hut with no regular funding, limited teaching resources and a long waiting list. Over the intervening years, Stand by Me has built 10 classrooms, a dining room, kitchen and library. It now provides high quality education for over 180 children like Angelica. Each pupil receives breakfast, lunch, medical care, education, games, treats and a summer camp. The school impacts the lives of children by providing them with the knowledge and skills to break the cycle of poverty.
The Dominican Republic is a country of extreme poverty, high unemployment and poor educational provision. Despite its popularity as a holiday destination, Dominicans, (particularly those living in rural areas) do not benefit from tourism. Thousands of children suffer from malnutrition and lack of healthcare and do not have access to a basic education. There are over 220,000 orphaned children on this small island. Concerned for these children Stand by Me built the Eva Russell School to educate 180 kids in the town of Monte Plata, one of the country’s poorest towns. In 2002 the care programme was extended with the building of Casa Monte Plata, in order to provide loving homes for abandoned, orphaned and children at risk.