Since Hurricane Georges struck in 1998, for an estimated population of over 303,000 people, life has remained difficult in the district of San Luis. Electricity functions intermittently for a total of 8-9 hours per day. Paved roads, trash removal, and healthcare services do not extend beyond the town center. Two-thirds of the population must travel daily to seek work, and with households supporting 4-6 children, the average monthly income of $125 does not meet most families’ needs.
While the Dominican government and several NGOs are working to support education programs, none of these extend to the outlying batey communities, where adult literacy remains low. Many batey residents are Haitian immigrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent who lack identification or legal access to public services, making them easy targets for active persecution by police and security forces. Chronic upper respiratory infections, intestinal parasites, sexually transmitted diseases, and mosquito-borne illnesses are rampant and exacerbated by most residents lacking access to public clinics, the means to travel to the nearest healthcare facility, or the resources to pay for treatment.
Since 2005, the Batey Foundation has strove to help ease these symptoms of endemic situational poverty, with specific focus placed on the bateyes of San Luis, Naranjo, and Yabaco. By working with community leaders and volunteers to construct new clinics, homes, schools, and basic infrastructures, TBF aids the relief and elimination of existing deficits of healthcare, education, employment, and public services.