Community Overview: Consuelo is a municipality of the San Pedro de Macoris Province in the southeastern part of the Dominican Republic, about 60 miles east of Santo Domingo. Commerce there is mostly agriculture, specifically coffee, sugar cane and vegetables. There are also some urban areas of Consuelo that support small businesses. The sugar industry around Consuelo is home to a number of shantytowns – villages called “bateyes” that house migrant agricultural workers, mostly from Haiti, and their families. Many of the bateyes lack basic amenities such as indoor plumbing or electricity. About 70% of the population who live in bateyes have an income of less that $2 per day. The two overwhelming problems facing the people on the bateyes are malnutrition and the lack of access to medicines and health services. The distance from the bateyes and the travel expense often prohibit parents from getting medical help for their sick children at the clinic in Consuelo.
Service Area Population: Approximately 8,170.
Project Partner: The Grey Sisters
From their founding in 1926, the Grey Sisters of the Immaculate Conception followed in the tradition of St. Marguerite d’Youville in responding to the changing needs of the world in which they live. Grey Sisters’ ministries have been as varied as their geographic locations – education, health care, care of seniors, pastoral care, prison ministry, music education, work with a focus on social and ecological justice.
Project Overview: The Grey Sisters run a clinic in the town of Consuelo, but many of the extremely vulnerable people in the batey communities are not able to travel to the clinic to receive services. With MFH support, the Sisters launched a mobile clinic to reach the children and families in the bateyes. Community health workers are also trained and small pharmacies have been established so that most of the bateyes now have access to essential medicines as well.