Sai Seva in the Dominican
There are over a million refugees from Haiti who live in the
Dominican Republic. Haiti shares the same island with the
Dominican Republic, but the cultures and languages are very
different with one being a Spanish culture, and the other
French. Over 95% of the Haitians were French slaves of African
descent. But when Swamis' devotees go to work, the distincion
barriers fall. In one community of Haitian refugees where the
Sai devotees went to do service of giving food, they found a
single mother with four children living in a cardboard covered
hole. The devotees rallied together and personally built a home
for this family. It took 3 months of working week ends to make a
large one room dwelling, but the love which everyone experienced
was beyond description. Many of the residents in this community
came forward to offer something even though they themselves have
nothing. When people see that someone is interested in them,
they become interested in themselves.
Close by, there was a one room school which didn't function
because there were no teachers, and there was no bathroom. There
was no blackboard, the floor had holes in it and the roof was
falling in. The Sai devotees got together and repaired and
painted the school and built a bathroom. Some mothers from the
community agreed to give classes up to 4th grade by rotation
since the government didn't give any money for teachers in this
school. The devotees take breakfast every morning to the school
so that the children can get proper nutrition at least once a
day. They also stay to give a human values class. They provide
books, paper and pencils for the students. This is a humble
start, but the community is becoming more self sufficient, and
the children more loving. Devotees are also helping new mothers
with gift baskets when they have a child. This community
adoption program is taking on new dimensions each day.
The children who are born in this community are born at home.
The mothers cannot get to the hospital as it is too far and too
costly to get there by taxi. Thus all the children do not have
birth certificates. This prevents them from enrolling in public
schools, which as a matter of law, require a birth certificate.
Members of the Sai Organization have taken up the difficult
process of changing the authorities’ view of this problem. It
remains to be resolved, but with Swamis Grace, all these
children will someday be able to attend school.
essentials for new mothers given by devotees to refugees.
built by devotees for refugee family who were living in a
cardboard covered hole.
One room in a
school building renovated by Sai Devotees which now serves first
to 4th grades at the adopted community of Haitian refugees.
family who recieved the home built by devotees.
Home in Santo
Dominigo , Dominican republic, which was built by devotees for a
destitute refugee family.
E-Magazine, February 15, 2004