Dark hands chop sugar cane morning until night, and only make enough money to eat one meal the next day. These hands belong to a Haitian child who is an illegal immigrant in the Dominican Republic. He can’t go home, but he can’t stay here either. He’s a slave.
Can you imagine working at the age of five? And knowing nothing will ever change? You probably grew up with the mentality that if you got a good education and a good job, you could take charge of your future. Well, here’s a boy who lives in a shanty-town on a sugar cane plantation called a Batey. And there are no schools on the Batey.
Today is World Day Against Child Labor. The only way to fight child labor is by giving children the chance to get an education, and by supporting their families so they don’t have to work.
Haitian immigrants are viewed as the lowest of the low in the Dominican Republic. They have no rights and their children also have no rights and no way of becoming a Dominican citizen. They are stuck, with no hope and no way out.
So what is a child to do? Most children living in the Bateyes are forced to work, or worse, they end up in the sex traffic industry.
Can you imagine how the parents of these children must feel? Their children are stuck. There is no way for them to get an education or a better job. They have no future.
These Bateyes and their seemingly hopeless situations have been on the heart of Giovanni, our partner in the Dominican Republic. He recently went to a Batey near the Cayacoa Kinship Project to get to know the families living there, and pray about how he could work with them and offer them new opportunities. He brought them some food, and is praying about what the future may bring.
Do you want to pray with Giovanni about how you can restore the childhoods of the children in the Dominican Republic Bateyes? If so, send us an email and we’ll send you updates as we get them!