Dominican Republic

ANIJA School

The ANIJA School’s name is the Spanish acronym for “helping the children of Jarabacoa” and that mission is lived out every day. This school is a second home to over 380 children who come from the poorest communities where they wouldn’t have access to a good education and in many cases, to the food we provide.

At ANIJA each child receives holistic care including help academically, medically and nutritionally, emotionally, and spiritually. Our students are four times more likely to graduate from high school than an average Dominican youth and five times more likely to join a church as an adult. ANIJA is also the administrative centre for the Kids Alive soccer club and university scholarship program.

From pre-nursery through to year 8, we follow a standard Dominican curriculum as well as English, computer studies and art. Out after school programme provides food, homework assistance, and other activities such as crafts, sports, and Bible lessons.

Our experienced staff have a passion for helping at-risk kids and they make our programme feel like a big family. About 30% of our staff were once at-risk kids who attended our school and benefited from our ministry.

ANIJA is a beacon of light and hope to this community. There is still so much to do here but thanks to the generosity of our supporters and God’s continued faithfulness, we are hopeful we can continue to serve these vulnerable children to help them break the cycle of poverty and hopelessness.

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ANIJA School: A story of hope

Our work with Jennifer*

Jennifer* came to ANIJA when she was four years old. We realised that she must be struggling emotionally and not able to communicate what was wrong. At times, she refused to speak at all and wasn’t making any progress learning to read. Our staff got together and developed a plan to get involved on multiple levels, to try and figure out how to help this sweet girl.

Our counsellor began working with her parents, revealing there were significant marital problems. Another counsellor began investigating Jennifer’s emotional health issues and how best to treat them. And our special education worker designed some extra tutoring work to help her overcome her fear of reading.

Eventually, our staff built deep trust and connection with Jennifer and her family. We are pleased to report that over the last few months she has begun to read with vigour, talk to people regularly, and smile much more.

Our hope is that she will blossom into a vibrant, Christian young woman who will want to succeed and serve others. This is why we do what we do at ANIJA, giving precious, vulnerable children the chance at a better future.

* name changed to protect privacy

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