Letter from the President
“Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you’re alive, it isn’t.” -Richard Bach.
Over the past year we have been transitioning from direct medical services to a comprehensive educational program. We continued and expanded our Community Outreach program by our nurses, Rosmery Suriel and Mildred Caraballo using Bright Futures (www.brightfutures.org) as a developmental guide and providing over-the-counter medicines to our ill children and HIV prevention information to the adults of our communities.
We also expanded our community reach by including Lajas as our sixth community to share in all of our programs and projects. Despite the expansions we have continued to maintain a Zero Infant Mortality Rate, a Zero Maternal Mortality Rate and 98% vaccination rate for our children under five years old. During our nine years of operation we have had over 260 live births in our communities. Based on the Infant Mortality Rate statistics of the Dominican Republic, at least eight children would have died had we not been here. I don’t know what price to put on a human life, but one life is worth a lot more than we have spent.
But the transition has taken its toll. The number of volunteers hosted by A Mother’s Wish Foundation in Los Pajones, Dominican Republic has dropped. Donations have also dropped significantly. By the end of the year, it was clear that the time had come to finish the medical portion of our mission and to put our resources and energies solely to education.
With the invaluable help of the American people through USAID, we were provided with the funds and equipment necessary to furnish the Pequeños Pasitos Student Center for Professional Development with the technological tools required for our students to catch up to 21st Century technology and be able to function on a par with their contemporaries in the cities and in other countries.
The need for better education is everywhere. We hear the chorus from the United States that the education system is failing. But as with everything else, failure is relative.
“A recent study carried out by the National Institute of Elementary Education (INEDI) testing teachers from first to fifth grade in public and private schools (in the Dominican Republic) revealed major flaws in the educational levels of teachers. As reported in Listin Diario, only 31% of teachers who participated in the research had the minimum required levels. Major deficiencies were found in the spelling standards of the sample of 100 teachers tested. 88.6% made serious spelling errors and did not pronounce all the consonants when speaking.”
The task of overcoming the erroneous teachings of 69% of the teachers in this country is a monumental task. We will need teachers, volunteers and funding to maintain and expand our services to be as successful in the educational portion of our mission as we were in the medical portion of our mission.
When we started nine years ago there was a mountain of medical problems that we faced. We climbed that mountain and we are in the valley. But, we are still alive and there is another mountain to climb.
James Craig Pickard