Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
The Women’s Center for Holistic Health in Las Terrenas (Dominican Republic) seeks to provide programs and services that address vital needs in the female population from puberty to menopause. Women are 50% of the population in Las Terrenas, estimated at 20,000, in which two-thirds are under 40 years of age and 47% is under 19 years of age. Two-thirds of the population did not continue with schooling after the 6th grade and though 75% of the people say that they know how to read and write, in reality more than 50% ended school by the 4th grade. Almost one-fifth of the female population reports being subjected to some kind of physical abuse and at least one in ten reports having received some type of physical threat.
In addition to the social, economic and educational limitations in the female population, there’s an extreme lack of basic services in the areas of physical and mental health, in addition to an absence of legal and physical protection for cases of domestic violence. There’s wide evidence of need in the areas of sexual, family and parenting education while the community virtually offers nothing in the areas of children services, particularly in regards to education, health and protection.
With those factors in mind, the Women’s Center for Holistic Health in Las Terrenas seeks to offer programs and services of a preventive, training and educational nature, in order to help eliminate the causes, reduce the consequences and to promote better practices that will increase the quality of life among children, girls and women in the community.
During 2007 Fundación Mahatma Gandhi facilitated a cardiovascular research Project that benefited 1071 persons, mostly women (see http://fundacionmahatmagandhi.com/proyecto_cardiovascular.html) and conducted two medical operatives, including one focused on women’s health (see http://fundacionmahatmagandhi.com/mujer_reporte.html).
During 2008 the Foundation carried out social research through which 140 adolescents ages 12-18 completed a questionnaire, 120 women were interviewed in their homes, and focus groups were conducted with women’s groups and specialized audiences in the community. At the end of 2008 steps were taken to start a micro-credit program as a pilot, which now benefits 15 women in the barrios Come Pan and Caño Seco. The first loans were disbursed March 2009. These projects depended on the collaborative support of ACES North America (http://fundacionmahatmagandhi.com/ACES.html) and Esperanza International (http://esperanza.org/do/.
The project will depend on external sources for funding in order to fulfill its goal and objectives, including the purchase or building of a place, the hiring of qualified and well-trained professionals and the execution of a calendar of services that are appealing and effective.