Dominican Republic

Eva Russell School and Casa Monte Plata

Monte Plata is an impoverished region in the middle east part of the Dominican Republic. Ravaged by poverty and a real lack of hope, we provide two projects that bring light to a very dark place.

The first is our Eva Russell school, which provides an excellent state-approved education to more than 200 of the region’s most vulnerable children. Initially a chicken coop (!), it is now a beautiful school with an additional discipleship programmes and access to university scholarships for high school graduates.

Eva Russell was a Canadian missionary who inspired Ramon and Juana Prenza, citizens of the Dominican Republic, to start a programme for the children in Monte Plata. In 1984, the Prenzas opened a school in a rented house for about 20 children. The Eva Russell School has since expanded by purchasing neighbouring properties and creating additional classrooms, computer rooms and a clinic.

After starting the Eva Russell school, Ramon and Juana Prenza encountered children who were abandoned, orphaned, or abused. What started as a small outreach has grown in the last few years, with four children’s homes to providing shelter and care for 40 of the region’s most vulnerable children.

Christian staff meet the emotional, physical, educational, and spiritual needs of each child, including trauma informed care for those who have suffered trauma, especially neglect or physical/sexual abuse.

“Casa Monte Plata overflows with God’s love thanks to the leadership of Juana and Ramon and their staff,” says Country Director Vic Trautwein. “One recent graduate told me he was thankful to God for providing a safe place for him to grow up and develop a relationship with his Creator.”

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Eva Russell School and Casa Monte Plata: A story of hope

Meet Miguel!*

Miguel came to Casa Monte Plata years ago after his life fell apart. His mother died and his father, who struggled with substance abuse, was unable to care for or provide for him. In those dark days, he felt like there was no hope. But our great God stepped in! From the moment he entered our programme, Miguel was loved and nurtured holistically. He was given physical safety, healthy food, and quality academic instruction while also learning about the love of God.

What a joy to see him grow in gratefulness to God, instead of giving into bitterness for the trauma of his past. Last year, Miguel graduated from high school, moved into a transition house, and took a year-long English course where he studied for four hours every day. He recently accepted a full-time job with Casa Monte Plata, working in maintenance, general support, and transportation. It has always been his dream to study law and he hopes to start university soon. We feel privileged to watch Miguel grow, thrive, and succeed, and we know God will do great things through this young man!

*Name changed to protect privacy

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